Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Acting U.S. Attorney G. Norman Acker, III, Announces Latest Results of Operation False Haven: Convicted Narcotics Trafficker Arrested for Naturalization Fraud

 RALEIGH, N.C. – A Moore County man arrested on charges of naturalization fraud had an initial appearance today before United States Magistrate Judge L. Patrick Auld in Greensboro, North Carolina.

A federal grand jury had returned an indictment charging Jose De Jesus Munoz, age 34, a naturalized citizen of the U.S., born in Mexico, residing in Jackson Springs, North Carolina, with naturalization fraud.

According to the indictment, Munoz knowingly failed to disclose during his naturalization proceedings in 2012 that he had committed the crime of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 5 kilograms of cocaine from in or about 2011 to December 18, 2014, in the Western District of North Carolina.  Munoz was naturalized as a United States citizen in Wilmington, North Carolina, on September 17, 2012. 

On May 20, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Munoz was sentenced to 70 months of imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and ordered to forfeit his interest in 14 bank accounts, multiple residential properties, as well as 10 pistols, five rifles, and three shotguns as instruments and proceeds of the conspiracy.

Munoz is charged in a four-count indictment with naturalization fraud.  If convicted, he faces up to a maximum imprisonment term of 25 years per count, a $250,000 fine per count, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.  A conviction for naturalization fraud also carries an automatic revocation of U.S. citizenship.

G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement. Agents with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations and Homeland Security Investigations, assigned to the Document Benefit Fraud Task Force, investigated the case as part of Operation False Haven, an ongoing initiative designed to identify and prosecute egregious felons who fraudulently obtained U.S. citizenship.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 7:21-CR-35-FL (E.D.N.C.) and 3:15-CR-20-RJC (M.D.N.C.).

An indictment is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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