Two Plead Guilty in Terrorist Document Sting
Mississippi (ICE) — Two New Orleans men have pleaded guilty to
their involvement in a conspiracy to sell false documents to purported
members of Abu Sayyaf, a Philippines-based group that has been
designated as a foreign terrorist organization.
pleas by Cedric Carpenter and Lamont Ranson February 28 were the
culmination of an eight-month investigation by ICE agents.
and Ranson agreed to produce false identification documents—Mississippi
driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and birth certificates—
knowing that the intended recipients of the false identification
documents were represented to be members of Abu Sayyaf, which
is designated as a foreign terrorist organization under U.S. law.
organizations willing to sell false identities to anyone for any
purpose pose a serious threat to our homeland,” said Assistant
Secretary Michael J. Garcia. “The defendants in this case
had no qualms about providing fraudulent IDs to people they believed
were terrorists. They now face serious consequences for their
In April 2004,
Carpenter and Ranson approached an individual on a cruise ship
seeking illegal narcotics, and offering to provide false identity
documents. Beginning in June 2004, Carpenter and Ranson had discussions
with confidential informants of ICE about a proposal to produce
false identification documents for a group of individuals identified
as members of Abu Sayyaf. Ranson was familiar with Abu Sayyaf
from his prior service with the U.S. Navy.
In early July
2004, Carpenter met with the informant and displayed a complete
set of fraudulent identification documents, including a birth
certificate, Social Security card and Mississippi driver’s
the documents, the informant requested five sets of documents.
Carpenter responded with an asking price of $100,000, stating
he wanted $50,000 in currency and $50,000 worth of heroin (about
half a kilogram). In August 2004, Carpenter continued to express
interest in completing the transaction, but, ultimately, no deal
was ever concluded.
31, 2004, ICE agents arrested Carpenter and Ransom at their homes
in New Orleans.
As part of
the guilty plea, both defendants admitted to conspiring to provide
material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Based on
this charge, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 15 years
imprisonment, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a period of supervised
release of up to three years.