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Man residing in North Carolina charged with naturalization fraud

A Moore County man arrested on charges of naturalization fraud had an initial appearance July 14 before United States Magistrate Judge L. Patrick Auld in Greensboro, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina.

A federal grand jury had returned an indictment charging Jose De Jesus Munoz, 34, a naturalized citizen of the United States born in Mexico and residing in Jackson Springs, 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 five 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 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,” stated the release.

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, stated the release.

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,” according to the release.

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