Illegal Workers Were Allowed on Marine Base, Authorities Allege
Friday, January 19, 2007
People in this country illegally were allowed onto the Quantico Marine Base and worked there on a construction project, federal officials announced yesterday as they charged two men with harboring the workers.
Federal agents arrested the two men at an apartment complex in Dumfries, where prosecutors said the men leased apartments for the workers. Fourteen immigrants were also detained, including three found on the base.
The immigrants never gained access to sensitive information and did not pose a threat to national security, court documents said. Federal officials said they were working on building a housing complex.
Court documents said the immigrants worked for a company owned by Richard Eversole, 58, who was charged yesterday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. Eversole, a U.S. citizen, obtained Department of Defense vehicle stickers from Quantico, which allowed the men to enter the base with limited inspection at the front gate, the documents said.
Also charged with conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens was Juan Martinez, 24, who was also here illegally and deported from the United States in 2004. A third man, Jacob Bocanegra, 36, was charged with unlawful reentry into the United States and remains a fugitive.
Lawyers for the defendants had not been appointed as of late yesterday, and Eversole and Martinez remained in custody.
A Quantico spokeswoman referred calls to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which began the investigation in March after a tip from an employee of Eversole's company. A spokesman for that agency, Ed Buice, said security at Quantico "is by necessity not as strict as some other bases because the town of Quantico is close by." He added that those charged had "knowingly circumvented the gate security that was there. Ultimately, the responsibility rests with the people who were charged with this crime."
The case is the latest in a series of investigations in which immigrants illegally in this country were found to be working at U.S. military facilities in California, New Mexico and several other states. Bill Reid, special agent in charge of the Washington field office for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the agency is trying to prevent it from happening again, especially at bases and other critical facilities such as nuclear plants.
"The hazard is that you have an individual who gains access to these places and you don't know who they are," he said. "You have no way of checking them."