Julio Leija-Sánchez, Manuel Leija-Sánchez, Pedro Lieja-Sánchez and Gerardo Salazar-Rodríguez
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 criminal complaint.
By H. Nelson Goodson
February 8, 2014
Chicago, Illinois - On Friday, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pellmeyer in Chicago sentenced both Julio Leija-Sánchez, 38, and Manuel Leija-Sánchez, 46, to mandatory life in prison for operating a criminal organization for the purpose to manufacture 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. Gerardo Salazar-Rodríguez, 41, was also convicted for murder and is facing a mandatory life in February 14 when he is sentenced.
Pedro Lieja-Sánchez, 41, pleaded guilty in 2012 to racketeering conspiracy for operating the fraudulent ID ring with his brothers and was sentenced last March to 20 years in prison.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents went undercover to buy fake ID's in the parking of the Little Village discount mall in Chicago 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 showed 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, Guillermo Jimenez-Flores also known as "Montes" in starting their own operations. In 2007, Montes was killed in Mexico by orders of the Lieja-Sánchez brothers. Julio also wanted Bruno to be kidnapped from Montes funeral in Mexico and then burned alive and chopped into little pieces.
Bruno was actually incarcerated in Chicaga and escaped from being killed as well.
Julio was 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 Street Discount Mall was raided by federal agents and confiscated ID making equipment.
The Lieja-Sánchez criminal organization used violence and hired 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 criminal indictment.
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 Bruno who was believed to be in Mexico.