Colombia: Local Criminals Using Fake Venezuelan IDs to Get ‘Deported’ and Avoid Arrest

Colombian citizens deported by Venezuela wait to cross the border in La Fria, Tachira stat
George CASTELLANOS/AFP via Getty Images

The councilman of the Colombian city of Bucaramanga, Jaime Andrés Beltrán, denounced on Wednesday the existence of a network that sells false Venezuelan national identity cards to Colombian criminals in the city.

According to the councilman, the criminals use the false identity cards to pretend to be Venezuelan citizens and deceive local authorities at the time of their arrest, which results in their deportation to Venezuela. The criminals can then easily use their legitimate Colombian documentation to re-enter the country, and their arrest records show no signs of their identity.

Beltrán explained the scheme in a video posted on his Twitter account on Wednesday evening, using the case of a Colombian citizen that was seemingly in possession of one such false Venezuelan identity card as an example.

According to Beltrán, Colombian delinquents can purchase false Venezuelan identity cards for approximately 150,000 Colombian pesos (roughly $34) through social media and online ads.

The delinquents use the cards, which authorities struggle to identify as counterfeit, as their identification when caught committing a crime in Colombian territory. Once captured, the criminals are presented before a judge and, in many cases, are released within eight hours due to the nature of the crime committed, such as cell phone theft or petty theft, considered misdemeanors by Colombian law.

The city’s police stations are overcrowded, pressuring local authorities to expedite the release of as many suspects as possible.

“It is outrageous to see criminals scoff after each capture, but this happens because being a misdemeanor it is possible that they get out before eight hours,” Beltrán explained. “Police stations are so full and collapsed that capturing them takes longer than the time they spent in there.”

The councilman also explained that, as the delinquents are identified as “Venezuelans,” they ultimately end up on the other side of the border, deported “home” but with authentic Colombian citizenship documents they can use to cross the border again.

Beltrán concluded by stating that he had filed a complaint with the Colombian Attorney General’s Office for the criminals to be prosecuted for forgery of public documents, a crime that Colombia’s penal code punishes with three to six years in prison.

Beltrán said to local media:

The worst thing is that some criminals have taken advantage of this to evade justice and the criminal record, committing criminal acts with false Venezuelan identity cards and with which they supplant the identification and migration system of the neighboring country. However, these identity documents are registered as legal and, when the National Police verifies them, they confirm the nationality of these subjects who are mostly deported, but easily re-enter the national territory with Colombian identification cards and without criminal records in the country.

In a similar case, Colombian authorities arrested 60 members of a group that issued and sold complete sets of false Colombian national identity cards to foreigners in April. The group charged upwards of 63 million Colombian pesos ($14,000) for a complete set of Colombian nationality documentation, including birth certificates, identity cards, and Colombian passports.

Venezuelan identification documents, such as national identity cards and national passports, are all exclusively handled by the socialist regime’s Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Foreigners (SAIME).

Obtaining or renewing a Venezuelan national identity card, while being free of charge for Venezuelan citizens, is a process that can presently only take place within Venezuelan territory and often involves lengthy multi-hour queues at SAIME’s offices. Since March, SAIME officials have modified the procedure to issue or renew Venezuelan identity cards, adding a series of extra steps to be able to request a local appointment due to an alleged “data corruption” in the country’s existing identity registries.

In previous years, SAIME officials have been accused of selling hard-to-obtain Venezuelan passports to foreigners, including members of the Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah.


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