Crime

He worked for Cuba’s security forces — but lied about it on his U.S. papers, feds say

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A Cuban citizen living in Miami is facing a federal charge after agents say he lied on his application to become a permanent U.S. resident.

Saul Santos Ferro, 73, faced a judge Wednesday who set his bond at $100,000 and placed him on house arrest with GPS monitoring. He was arrested Tuesday and charged with one count of making false statements on an immigration document.

While filling out his form in 2013, Santos Ferro “made a number of lies and misrepresentations in his application to register as a permanent resident which he knowingly presented to U.S. immigration authorities, ultimately obtaining lawful permanent resident status,” the attorney’s office said in a news release.

According to the indictment, Santos Ferro served as a high-ranking officer in the Cuban government’s Department of State Security or Departamento de Seguridad del Estado (DSE) for decades. When asked if he was involved in any organization, was involved in a police unit or ever detained any prisoners, he said no, attorneys wrote in the indictment.

In fact, the indictment charges, Santos Ferro knew he had been “a member of, assisted in, and participated in any military unit, paramilitrary unit and police unit.”

And he wrote on his application that he had never served in any prison, jail or detention facility, when, in fact, he had, the indictment charges.

“Saul Santos Ferro allegedly lied to immigration authorities about his membership in the Cuban government’s internal security force to obtain lawful permanent residence status,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski in a news release. “The Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute those who seek to exploit our immigration system through fraud and deceit.”

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
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