Special agents from the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service completed a lengthy investigation in December when they helped locate a Hawaii fugitive, Cynthia Jean Reed, 50, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Mexican law enforcement authorities subsequently detained Reed on December 14 for immigration violations. She was deported to the United States in the custody of the U.S. Marshals on December 15. Reed appeared before United States Magistrate George C. Hanks in the Southern District of Houston on December 16 where she was charged with passport fraud.
The U.S. Marshals returned Reed to Hawaii on January 15. She appeared in the U.S. Federal court in the District of Hawaii today.
On December 15, 2011, a federal grand jury in Hawaii indicted Reed, 50, on the charge of knowingly and willfully using the identity of Christina Ann Ruehling to obtain a U.S. Passport. According to a criminal complaint previously filed in federal court in Hawaii, in 2004 Reed made false statements in submitting an application for a U.S. Passport in Christina Ann Ruehling’s identity in Lahaina, Maui, and used the illegally obtained passport while traveling in Florida, the Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico.
Reed also is wanted on Hawaii state charges ranging from forgery to assault on a police officer.
“The U.S. passport and visa are two of the most coveted travel documents in the world. There are American citizens and foreign nationals who fraudulently acquire passports and visas to engage in identity theft and other criminal activities. This case demonstrates Diplomatic Security’s commitment to working with our worldwide law enforcement partners to investigate these crimes and help bring these criminals to justice no matter where in the world they may be,” said Wesley A. Weller, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, which has responsibility for Hawaii and the Pacific territories to include Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and American Samoa.
Diplomatic Security Service’s Honolulu Resident Office worked with DSS Special Agents in the Mexican cities of Tijuana, Hermosillo, and Mexico City, Mexico, to track Reed’s travel to the Virgin Islands and the Mexican cities of Cancun and Mazatlan, and finally to the Mexican tourist resort city of Cabo San Lucas, where she was apprehended by Mexican law enforcement authorities.
Because the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service operates from a worldwide platform in 189 countries, DSS's capability to track fugitives who have fled U.S. jurisdiction to avoid prosecution is unmatched. During 2011, DSS assisted in the return of 207 international fugitive cases from every corner of the world.
If convicted, Reed faces up to ten years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. The charge against the defendant is only an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
In addition to Special Agents from the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, the U. S. Marshals Service in Mexico City, Mexico; the United States Postal Inspection Service in Honolulu, Hawaii; and the United States Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General in Los Angeles, Calif., worked together on this case.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ron Johnson of the District of Hawaii.
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the U.S. Department of State's law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of the Bureau are responsible for the security at more than 285 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel protect the U.S. Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conduct personnel security investigations. More information about the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security may be obtained at www.diplomaticsecurity.state.gov
Gale L. Smith
Diplomatic Security Public Affairs