Ex-Gov’t Official Pleads Guilty to Issuing IDs, Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens

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(Luis CornelioHeadline USA) A former Tennessee official and husband pleaded guilty to manufacturing hundreds of identification cards for illegal aliens, federal prosecutors announced on Dec. 21. 

Cheryl Huff and Mario Paz-Mejia entered guilty pleas to one count of conspiracy to produce, without lawful authority, identification documents or false identification documents. 

The couple faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison, $250,000 in fines and three years of supervised release. 

Huff served as a district manager for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, overseeing the issuance of state driver’s licenses and identification cards. In her role, Huff had the authority to grant driver’s licenses. 

“Using his association with Huff, Paz-Mejia represented to his customers that, in return for $2,500, Paz-Mejia could obtain for them a Tennessee driver’s license or identification card,” federal prosecutors said in a press release.

Prosecutors said that Paz-Media “recruited individuals who were neither citizens of the United States nor residents of Tennessee” who sought to obtained Tennessee driver’s licenses.

Paz-Mejia assisted in creating fake citizenship and permanent residency documents, both of which are required by Tennessee law for individuals seeking state identification cards. He also helped fabricate fake lease agreements, birth certificates and Social Security cards.

“Huff knew, or deliberately ignored a high probability, that Paz-Mejia was helping his customers obtain false citizenship and residency documents and that Paz-Mejia charged his customers money to obtain a Tennessee driver’s license or identification card,” prosecutors added.

Huff used the state’s software to authorize the issuance of identification cards. Prosecutors accused Paz-Mejia of texting Huff the names, dates of birth, and other fake documents. In one text message, Paz-Mejia asked Huff to “check that people,” to which she replied, “All these are not on file. They’re good.” 

Once the applications were accepted, Huff escorted the applicants and husband through backdoors to the Driver Service Centers (DSC), a subagency she oversaw.

“Once Paz-Mejia and his customers were inside, Huff initiated driver’s license applications for the customers using TDSHS software.  Huff also instructed subordinate DSC employees to complete applications and issue driver’s licenses to many of Paz-Mejia’s customers,” prosecutors declared.

U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee Katherine A. Crytze scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 24, 2024.

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