5 arrested in Miss., Alabama for selling driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants

Published 6:56 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Five people, including an employee of Mississippi’s driver’s license division, are accused of taking part in a scheme to sell licenses to illegal aliens for approximately $2,000 each, federal officials said Tuesday.

Those arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents included two Mexican nationals and an Uzbek national, the agency said. The five had Mississippi or Alabama addresses.

Melissa Green, 37, of Tupelo, a driver license examiner for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, was part of the alleged conspiracy to recruit illegal aliens to purchase the Mississippi licenses, an ICE news release said.

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According to court documents, Green’s role in the scheme was to create computer records for the illegal aliens seeking a driver’s license.

“It is further alleged, that the members of the criminal organization were paid approximately $2,000 to provide a driver’s license to those who had not passed the required driving test and were in the country illegally,” the release said.

ICE said others arrested in the scheme were Alfred Green, 40, husband of Melissa Green; Davron Gayupov, 29, of Gulfport; Baldamer Esquivel, 37, of Troy, Ala., and Marco Martinez, 40, of Mobile, Ala.

The Mobile ICE office initiated the investigation after its agents received information alleging that Martinez, a shipyard worker, was recruiting illegal aliens seeking identification to obtain employment in shipyards located in Mobile.

According to Mississippi law, it is illegal for a person who does not have legal status in this country to obtain a state-issued driver’s license.

ICE said Mississippi Driver Services is in the process of reviewing hundreds of licenses issued by Green over a nine-month period and would cancel all illegally issued licenses.

All defendants are pending federal court appearances in Mobile with prosecution by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Alabama.