Colombian national accused of passport forgery

-after illegal entry into the country

A Colombian national, purported to have forged documentation legitimising his entry to Guyana from Venezuela, was yesterday placed on $50,000 bail by a city court.

Luis Eugenia Marcia Torres, 48, pleaded guilty to entering Guyana by sea and disembarking without the consent of an immigration officer on April 14, at Charity, Essequibo. He was fined $20,000 for that charge or an alternative of four weeks in prison, while he denied an additional charge that he forged documentation of his entry.

It was alleged that on May 20, at Moleson Creek, Springlands, Corentyne, with intent to defraud, Torres uttered to a police constable a Colombian passport in favour of himself. The charge further stated that there were forged arrival and departure stamps inserted on the second page and a Republic of Guyana tourist and business visa inserted on pages seven and nine of the passport, purported to have been issued by the Central Immigration Passport Office. Torres pleaded not guilty to the charge.

According to prosecutor Neville Jeffers, Torres said he arrived at Charity from Venezuela on April 14, via sea, and failed to present himself to the immigration officer. On May 20, while an outgoing passenger to Suriname from Moleson Creek, he presented a Colombian passport which boasted a fake stamp, dated May 18, 2016.

When checks were done, no record of the accused’s entry could be found. Torres’s lawyer, Paul Fung-A-Fat, explaining the circumstances surrounding the charge, said there is a wide range of persons who con foreigners and pointed out that his client was at a disadvantage since he did not understand English well.

Although Torres pleaded guilty to illegal entry, Fung-A-Fat claimed that when his client arrived, he had in fact passed through “immigration” and a stamp was placed in his passport. He stated that the accused had not known the stamp was false.

The matter of the forged document has been adjourned to June 1.

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