Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In announcing arrests, top RI cop declares “This is not a sanctuary state”

With the arrest of two Division of Motor Vehicles license clerks in a fraudulent document scheme, Rhode Island State Police Colonel Brendan Doherty pleased many Rhode Islanders when he insisted “This is not a sanctuary state.” One talk-show host read Doherty’s statement over the sound of Handel's “Hallelujah Chorus.”

State and federal law enforcement agencies worked together to bust the fraud scheme. Two registry employees, working with a middle man, would arrange to issue fraudulent driver's licenses to drug dealers, illegal immigrants and other people with criminal records.

Once a person had the phony license, they could use it to obtain other forms of identification, even passports. Law enforcement said the scheme may include people who came here from other states just to get the phony licenses.

"This is not a sanctuary state for people coming into Rhode Island for nefarious reasons and to obtain illegal identification in furtherance of the criminal conspiracies that they're involved in," Doherty said.

Arrest warrants have been issued for 32 people. So far, 11 have been apprehended. State police said the investigation is ongoing and that the DMV cooperated in the investigation.

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