Nearly 20,000 counterfeit IDs have been seized by U.S. officials in just six months, with the majority of shipments coming from China. And these boons for criminal activity are being funneled into the notoriously violent Chicago, ostensibly worsening the city’s chart-topping crime rates.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport continues to be a hotbed for the transport of illicit IDs, which can be linked to serious crimes such as “human smuggling and human trafficking” and “used by those individuals associated with terrorism to minimize scrutiny from travel screening measures” per the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) report.
In full, the CBP press release reads:
Fraudulent driver’s licenses, which are used for criminal activity or fraud, continue to be found by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the International Mail Facility (IMF) at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Since the beginning of the year to June 30, CBP officers at the IMF have seized 1,513 shipments with fraudulent documents- a total of 19,888 counterfeit US drivers’ licenses. The majority of these shipments were arriving from China and Hong Kong, with other seized shipments arriving from Great Britain and South Korea.
The driver’s licenses were for various people in different states with a vast majority destined for neighboring states. Most were for college-age students, and other licenses would share the same picture but have different biographical data. Another concern was the bar code attached to the Michigan licenses worked.
These fraudulent identity documents can lead to 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.
“These counterfeit driver’s licenses can lead to disastrous consequences,” said Ralph Piccirilli, Acting Area Port Director, Chicago. “Criminal organizations use these counterfeit IDs to avoid attracting attention to their illegal activities. Our CBP officers were able to identify these very realistic counterfeits and stop them from reaching their destinations.”