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Three arrested by federal officials at Dexter dairy

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Three individuals accused of using fraudulent documents to obtain employment were arrested Wednesday by federal law enforcement at a local dairy.

Eden Rodriguez-Gonzales, Javier Ramirez-Mesa and Jose Ismael Rodriguez-Delgado were arrested in a joint operation carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), at Cheyenne Dairy No. 3 in Dexter, according to documents filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New Mexico.

All three individuals made initial appearances in Federal Court in Las Cruces Friday and are charged with using counterfeit documents while falsifying a government form.

Four other individuals were also taken into immigration custody Wednesday, but not charged with any federal crimes, Sean Sullivan, assistant U.S. Attorney and public affairs officer with the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.

Court documents state that on July 16, special agents with HSI served Cheyenne Dairy No. 3 with a notice regarding the inspection of employment eligibility forms, which the dairy subsequently turned over to special agents.

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The forms for Rodriguez-Gonzales, Javier Ramirez-Mesa and Rodriguez-Delgado stated that each were Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). Each form contained a photocopy of the applicant’s LPR card — later found to be counterfeit — and bearing aliases.

LPRs, also known as Green Card holders, are non-citizens lawfully authorized to permanently reside in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website. The designation allows them to hold employment without certain restrictions, join the armed forces and be eligible for financial assistance to public colleges and universities.

Immigration record checks were later conducted on Rodriguez-Gonzales, Javier Ramirez-Mesa and Rodriguez-Delgado.

After searching through several databases, no evidence was found that any of the three individuals applied for or received permission to enter, live or be employed within the United States, court documents state.

Rodriguez-Gonzales and Rodriguez-Delgado each later admitted, when questioned by special agents, that the LPR cards used and presented to human resource representatives at the dairy to gain employment were counterfeit, according to documents.

Ramirez-Mesa later told deportation officers he purchased his LPR card and a fraudulent Social Security card five years ago for $50 in order to gain employment.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.