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Immediately before issuing his not guilty verdicts in the trial of Fabio and Sergio Robleto, Washington County Circuit Judge Michael J. McElligott, known for being somewhat quirky, said it best: “Clearly, crimes were being committed.”
McElligott remarked — in open court — on the regular attendance of a large number of observers at a trial accusing the brothers of driver’s license fraud. Noting that it was neither a murder trial nor a rape trial, he asked why we were there. We replied how horrified we were to learn that Oregon was the destination for obtaining false credentials and that the lax policies of our state could well be putting national security at risk.
Frustration and outrage best describe our sentiments after observing nearly every minute of the recent driver’s license fraud trials. Incredibly, the three defendants — Sergio, Miguel and Fabio Robleto — were acquitted.
In this post 9/11 era, the gravity of the criminal schemes described in detail at the trial cannot be overstated.
We heard how illegal individuals from all over the globe were brought to Oregon for the sole purpose of acquiring Oregon driver’s licenses and other undeserved identity credentials. Tens of thousands of such documents are at large and may be exchanged in other states, no questions asked.
With these credentials, terrorists may smoothly circumvent security precautions at airports and other sensitive locations.
Based on testimony by an undercover detective at the Miguel Robleto trial, “visiting clients” were instructed to first buy a fraudulently addressed envelope with an Oregon address, then register to vote. These nonresident “clients” could then expect to receive a voter identity card, delivered perhaps to a motel address.
The “matricula consular” card, distributed by the Mexican Consulate at frequently held “carousels of information,” was a third identity credential approved by the state Department of Motor Vehicles to qualify for a driver’s license.
Other disturbing testimony came from DMV employees. They revealed how they were reprimanded by their superiors when they reported the highly suspicious envelopes submitted by Robleto’s “clients” seeking a driver’s license. Their managers told them “law enforcement was not their job.”
(Posted on March 2, 2006)