Homeland Security Investigations officers arrested last week on Saipan an alleged overstaying female tourist who was driving a taxi using a fake CNMI driver’s license.
Chunqiao Chen, who was arrested for a fake driver’s license, was brought to the U.S. District Court late Friday afternoon.
According to a complaint filed by Homeland Security special agent Nicole Sively, HSI task force officer Jesse Dubrall encountered Chen last Thursday and recognized her as the one from whom he had seized an expired Saipan driver’s license last May 2.
When Dubrall asked Chen why she was driving again when he had previously advised her that she could not legally drive on Saipan, she allegedly presented Dubrall with another driver’s license.
After checking with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Dubrall determined that this Saipan driver’s license was fake, leading to Chen’s arrest.
In the May 2 encounter, it started when Federal Protective Services officer Sean White saw Chen in the driver’s seat of a red Toyota sedan in the parking lot of the Marina Heights II Business Plaza in Puerto Rico, Saipan.
White asked HSI for a records checks on Chen. Chen allegedly presented White with an expired Saipan driver’s license
Dubrall and another HSI task force responded to the scene to assist White and took the expired Saipan driver’s license.
When asked, the passenger of the vehicle claimed that Chen was the taxi driver.
When asked if she had a valid CW-1 permit that authorized her to work as a cab driver, Chen allegedly replied she did not have one.
Chen was then told to report to the HSI Saipan office in order to verify her immigration status, which she did. Using a Mandarin interpreter, HSI personnel obtained Chen’s biographical information to include her citizenship. HSI personnel also obtained her fingerprints and photograph.
Sively said that, according to DHS records, Chen is a citizen of the People’s Republic of China and was granted a CNMI-only Conditional Parole by Customs and Border Protection on Oct. 23, 2013, that was effective up to Oct. 30, 2013.
Based on the records, Sively said, Chen had overstayed and is now illegally here.
Sively said Chen was then administratively arrested for violating the Immigration and Nationality Act. Wikipedia defines administrative detention as arrest and detention without trial, usually for security reasons.
During an interview, Dubrall allegedly advised Chen that her Saipan driver’s license was expired and that he would retain it.
Chen allegedly told Dubrall that she intended to renew her Saipan driver’s license. Until then, Chen that she could not legally drive in Saipan and was ineligible for a driver’s license because she did not have a valid immigration status in the U.S., Dubrall advised.
Chen was then released from custody after she agreed to return to the HSI office at a later date.
Last Thursday, May 16, at 10am, Dubrall again saw Chen driving a red Toyota sedan at the Da Bao tire shop in Chalan Piao on Saipan.
Dubrall approached Chen and when he asked her why she was driving again, she presented him with a driver’s license that was unexpired that she allegedly obtained from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Dubrall told Chen that it was not possible because he had already flagged her with the BMV for not having any immigration status.
Dubrall and Chen then went to the BMV office, where a BMV technician said that there was no information in the BMV system regarding the recent driver’s license renewal for Chen.
The technician also stated that, based on the fonts used in the license, the colors used, and other discrepancies, the license from Chen was not issued by BMV.
Dubrall then reviewed Chen’s 2016 driver’s license renewal application, and it appeared that a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-797C notice of action was submitted for the 2016 renewal as part of her application.
Dubrall asked for translation assistance from CNMI Customs officer Yanche Magofna, who spoke fluent Mandarin, to verify Chen’s claim that she obtained the driver’s license from the BMV.
With Magofna’s assistance, Dubrall asked if the building where they were located is the same building where Chen obtained the driver’s license that she presented to Dubrall earlier that day.
Chen confirmed that she obtained the current driver’s license from the BMV office at that location.
Chen was then brough to the HSI Saipan office for further questioning and Dubrall informed HSI special agent Michael Lansangan of the information he had obtained from BMV officials, particularly the information in the I-797C form that was part of Chen’s application
Lansangan did a computer record checks on Chen as well as of the receipt number in the I-797C from BMV.
Lansangan found that Chen was not previously granted any CW-1 or other U.S. visa, and that Chen entered the CNMI several years ago as a tourist under the conditional parole system.
Upon querying the receipt number from the I-797C, Lansangan noted that Chen was not one of the listed employees or beneficiaries under that receipt.
Lansangan reviewed the I-797C retrieved from BMV and noted that two of the names on the document (including Chen) were not associated with that receipt numbers.
Based on HSI records, Chen first came to Saipan in May 2013 and was allowed to stay for one month.
Chen stated she returned to China but came back to Saipan about four to five months later.
On this subsequent trip to Saipan, Chen allegedly planned to stay on Saipan for a couple of years.
Chen allegedly admitted lying to the U.S. immigration officer at the airport by stating that she was only here for tourism.
Chen then obtained a Saipan driver’s license after returning to Saipan allegedly in order to have a form of identification as well as be able to drive. She allegedly stated she also needed a license to obtain a phone.
Chen stated she brought her Chinese driver’s license with her to Saipan.
Chen stated she went to the BMV and filled out a driver’s license application form. She took a written test in English and failed the test on her first attempt. Chen took the test a second time and assumed she passed as she was allowed to take a driving test.
Chen passed the driving test the first time. She stated she paid between $40 to $60 for the driver’s license and had valid immigration status at that time.
Other details in Sively’s declaration were kept confidential.