WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Eleven states and 19 cities, including Wilmington. That's where multiple federal agencies believe members of a highly sophisticated and violent fraudulent document trafficking organization were working.
Juan Arroyo-Pantoja is the man believed to be running part of the organization right here in our own backyard.
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the organization was based out of Mexico, but had people working here in the United States.
ICE said Arroyo-Pantoja was heading up his own division right here in Wilmington. A 59-page indictment accuses him of being a member of an organization that produced about 15,000 false documents for illegal immigrants, including Social Security cards and state IDs.
The members are also accused of kidnapping, beating and, on at least one occasion, murdering competitors and using violence to discipline its own members.
"This was not a mom and pop organization, but rather organized crime on a grand scale," ICE Director John Morton said during a news conference in Richmond, VA.
An ICE spokesman says the US headquarters of this operation was in Raleigh.