GREELEY—After being arrested, imprisoned and deported repeatedly for more than two decades, Juan Jimenez finally figured out a way to dodge immigration laws.
On a mild Saturday night last July, Greeley police busted Jimenez, who had a stash of crack cocaine.
The arrest, coupled with his rap sheet and stints in federal prison, warranted a hold by immigration authorities.
But the violent felon from Mexico managed to get a low $3,000 surety bond and walked away a free man.
How did he do it?
Jimenez, 51, posed as someone else using fraudulent documents, illustrating one of the many challenges authorities face when they encounter foreign-born residents.
“This guy is a bad dude,” said Rick Dill, bureau chief of the Weld County Jail, where Jimenez was booked and released the next day. “It’s very clear that this is the kind of person that a lot of resources need to be dedicated to locate and remove from this country because of the victimization that has occurred.”
Many undocumented immigrants obtain phony IDs, such as resident alien cards, driver’s licenses, birth certificates and Social Security cards, primarily to get jobs.
But Jimenez and other illegal immigrants with a criminal history use their fake documents to avoid the justice system and elude authorities.
“In this case, it sounds like (Jimenez) wasn’t picked up (by ICE) because he had a clean identity when he came through the facility,” he said.
Investigators made the connection later, but by then, Jimenez had slithered into obscurity.