Over 1,000 Fake American Driver’s Licenses From Hong Kong Seized In Indiana

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized more than 1,000 counterfeit driver’s licenses in Indianapolis, Indiana, that had been smuggled over from Hong Kong in recent weeks.

“Last week Indianapolis CBP detained three shipments that were arriving from Hong Kong,” the agency announced on Friday. “The first shipment was heading to an address in Chicago and the other two shipments were heading to addresses in New York.”

For shipping purposes, the containers were falsely labeled “Game Card” in three shipments containing 1,207 fake licenses. The shippers alleged that the value of the cards was $20. 

One of the shipments had 358 fake licenses, another had 482, and a third had 367.

“Fraudulent driver’s licenses, which can be used for criminal activity or fraud, continue to be found by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Express Consignment Operations hub across the nation,” CBP explained. 

Driver’s licenses from more than 20 states were found, with some using the same photo, but different names. Several of the states represented were Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan, South Carolina, Ohio, and California. 

According to the announcement, many of the fraudulent driver’s licenses seemed to be for college-age adults. Chief CBP Officer Tim Hubbard warned that fake licenses could be used for “criminal enterprises,” including immigration fraud and identity theft, as well as for those under 21 to illegally purchase alcohol. 

“Counterfeit drivers licenses have historically been used by those under 21 years of age for the illegal consumption of alcohol, but fake IDs have also been used in criminal enterprises, such as identity theft cases and immigration fraud,” he said. “Customs and Border Protection officers will continue to be vigilance during enforcement operations, and we remain committed to the safety and security of our nation.”  

Earlier this month, CBP in Cincinnati, Ohio, stopped thousands of fake identifications from being shipped out of the country. In an operation ranging from early December to January 10, 2022, officers seized more than 2,000 international driver’s licenses and paired booklets that were fraudulent. 

“These counterfeit documents can lead to disastrous consequences,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago. “Criminal organizations use these counterfeits to avoid attracting attention to their illegal activities.”

Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie noted that often fake identification documents were used for human trafficking, identify theft, and to make money for organized crime. These fake identifications originated in New York and Florida. 

According to Sutton-Burke, fake identification is also often used by those connected to terrorism. 

“Some of the major concerns as it relates to fraudulent identity documents is identity theft, worksite enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, fraud linked to immigration-related crimes such as human smuggling and human trafficking, and these documents can be used by those individuals associated with terrorism to minimize scrutiny from travel screening measures,” she said. 

Operations cracking down on fraudulent identification involves coordination between Homeland Security and a special CBP unit dedicated to analyzing documentation.

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