The Lieja-Sánchez criminal organization from Chicago manufactured fake driver licenses, green cards, social security cards for illegal aliens who paid hundreds of dollars and then forced them to work for the organization to pay off their debt, according to the federal prosecutor.
By H. Nelson Goodson
January 26, 2013
Chicago, IL - On Thursday, the federal racketeering, illegal alien smuggling, contract murders and fake ID operation trial of Julio Lieja-Sánchez, including Manuel Lieja-Sánchez and Gerardo Salazar-Rodriguez began. A federal jury on Thursday saw a video where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents went undercover to buy fake ID's in the parking of the Little Village discount mall and then went to a business owned by Elias Muñoz that provided photos for ID's and passports. Elias is the father of Alderman Ricardo Muñoz. Elias later pled guilty for his involvement in the Lieja-Sánchez operation and was sentenced to 4 years in prison.
A wiretapped conversation will show that Julio Lieja-Sánchez gave orders to kill Freddy Ramirez-Camella, aka, "Bruno," a once trusted insider of the Lieja-Sánchez operation that conspired with another fake ID competitor known as "Montes" in starting their own operations. In 2007, Montes was killed in Mexico by orders of the Lieja-Sànchez brothers. Julio also wanted Bruno to be kidnapped from Montes funeral in Mexico and then burned alive and chopped into little pieces.
Next week, Bruno will testify against Julio, Manuel and Gerardo. The defendants have denied their involvement in the criminal organization and homicides. But damaging federal wiretapped conversations implicated them.
Julio is one of three brothers, Manuel Lieja-Sánchez, Pedro Lieja-Sánchez and 24 other defendants who were busted in April 2007 resulting in charges that led to the dismantling of an alleged fraudulent document ring that operated in and around the Little Village Discount Mall and generated nearly $3 million in annual profits. The indictment was unsealed after their fake ID operation at the 26th Discount Mall was raided by federal agents and confiscated ID making equipment.
Video surveillance footage, wiretapped conversations and witnesses testimony during trial will show how the Lieja-Sánchez criminal organization used violence, the Latin Kings gang who were paid to protect their operation in Chicago's Little Village area for 20 years (since 1993), according to the feds.
Montes, a rival who tried to muscle in on their operation was killed in Mexico. The Lieja-Sánchez criminal organization operated in both Mexico and Chicago.
The Mexico-based Leija-Sánchez organization was supervised by an overall leader living in Chicago, and the leadership position rotated among the three Leija-Sánchez brothers, according to an October 2007 indictment. The leader in Chicago and others allegedly ordered violent acts against competitors, rivals and others. The indictment alleged that the organization sold as many as 50 to 100 sets of fraudulent identification documents each day, charging customers approximately $200 to $300 cash per "set," consisting of a Social Security card and either an Immigration "green card" or a state driver's license.
Julio Leija-Sánchez and his brothers allegedly conspired to murder Guillermo Jimenez-Flores, a former member of their organization who became a fledgling rival and was allegedly shot to death in Mexico in April 2007 by co-defendant Gerardo Salazar-Rodriguez, who was paid by and conspired with the three Leija-Sánchez brothers. The same four defendants also allegedly conspired about the same time to kill a second victim in Mexico.