Crime — 13 June 2014 — by Rowland A. Parks
Alleged mastermind behind immigration documents ring facing 20 more charges

A Guatemalan woman, who Immigration officers believe is the mastermind behind a ring which has fraudulently issued Belize nationality documents to at least 30 persons who were not entitled to them, was brought to court today and charged with 20 additional counts of the immigration offense.

Marleny Elizabeth Castellanos, 45, came out of the prison van which transported her to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court, in good spirits, clutching a Bible in her hand.

Castellanos, a naturalized Belizean, has three children who were born in Belize. She is a domestic and resides at 2729 Smith Street, Kings Park. She was remanded to prison after pleading not guilty to a number of immigration charges which are still pending in court.

Magistrate Dale Cayetano read the 20 counts of the immigration charges and Castellanos pleaded not guilty to all.

The Immigration Department is alleging that Castellanos helped 20 persons to get Belize nationality to which they were not entitled. The persons she allegedly assisted are Guatemalan, Honduran and Salvadoran nationals.

On or around June 18, 2013, Castellanos facilitated Guatemalan national, Rudy Alexander Juarez’ efforts to remain in Belize by aiding him in the use of a Belize nationality certificate #1684.2.13. Vol. I (47), dated June 10, 2013, which he was not entitled to use.

It is further alleged that on July 11, 2012, she aided Juarez in using a Belize birth certificate #549 dated July 11, 2012, belonging to Armenia Lourdes Mendez, to obtain a Belize nationality certificate, a document that she was not entitled to use.

The allegations are similar on the other 18 counts.

It is alleged that Castellanos aided Salvadoran national Juan Emilio Lobos to use a nationality certificate 1684, 1/13/ Vol. VI, (43) dated July 8, 2013, as well as a Belize birth certificate #322, dated February 13, 2013, belonging to Flora Castellanos.

She aided Guatemalan national, Abel Ruiz Reyes, to use a Belize nationality certificate #1684/2/13/ vol. II (54) dated August 2, 2013 and a Belize birth certificate #480, dated August 13, 2013, belonging to Merci Araselia Medina, to obtain a Belize nationality certificate.

She aided on or about July 9, 2013, Guatemalan national Wendy Marizol Diaz, in using a Belize birth certificate #145 dated July 9, 2013 belonging to Floridelma Tut, as well as a Belize nationality certificate #1684/2/13 volume II (8) dated July 12, 2013.

She also aided Guatemalan national, Lucia Otilia Amador Alvarez in August 2013 to use a birth certificate belonging to Merci Araselia Medina, and to use a nationality certificate in the name of Lucia Alvarez for the purpose of remaining in Belize.

She additionally aided Guatemalan national, Luis Estuardo Flores to use a Belize nationality certificate and a Belize birth certificate belonging to Leticia Magana; assisted Guatemalan national, Mario Anibal Reymundo to use a Belize birth certificate belonging to Armenia Lourdes Mendez and to use a Belize nationality certificate; and helped Guatemalan national, Juana Francisca Lopez, to use a Belize birth certificate belonging to Flora Castellanos and a Belize nationality certificate. In addition to the list of Guatemalans and Salvadorans whom were provided with fraudulent nationality documents with her assistance, there were also a few Hondurans who were assisted by Castellanos. She aided Honduran national Jenny Patricia Arita in using a Belizean birth certificate which belonged to Raquel Castellanos as well as a Belize nationality certificate; and she aided Salvadoran national, Fredy Antonio Lobes, to use a Belize birth certificate belonging to Armina Lourdes Mendez, and a Belize nationality certificate.

In court, Marleny pleaded not guilty and she was further remanded to the Belize Central Prison.

Just after her arraignment, another woman, Reyna Leticia Perez Ariano, was charged with two counts of using documents to which she was not entitled

Ariano pleaded guilty to the two counts and was fined $1,000 for each count plus two $5.00 fees for cost of court. Cayetano ordered her to pay the fines forthwith.

Ariano was found using a Belize national certificate #555, dated August 26, 2013, belonging to Rosita Wilheminia Mahler, as well as a national certificate #1684/2/13/issued on September 25, 2013 – documents that she was not entitled to use.

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