USDOJ/OIG Special Report


Office of the Inspector General Seal


The Rafael Resendez-Ramirez Case:

A Review of the INS's Actions and the Operation of

Its IDENT Automated Fingerprint Identification System

(March 20, 2000)



Table of Contents


Executive Summary

  1. Chapter One: Introduction
    1. Background
    2. The OIG Investigation
    3. Organization of the OIG Report
  2. Chapter Two: Background to IDENT
    1. History of IDENT
    2. Description of How IDENT Works
      1. IDENT Processing
      2. Comparison of the Alien’s Fingerprints to IDENT Databases
        1. The IDENT Lookout Database
        2. The IDENT Recidivist Database
      3. Other Databases
  3. Chapter Three: Resendez’s Criminal History and Apprehensions by the Border Patrol Before 1999
    1. Resendez’s Criminal History
    2. Resendez’s Seven Apprehensions and Voluntary Returns to Mexico in 1998
      1. Background
      2. Resendez’s Seven Apprehensions in 1998
        1. First Apprehension - January 5, 1998
        2. Second Apprehension – January 7, 1998
        3. Third Apprehension – January 8, 1998
        4. Fourth Apprehension – April 17, 1998
        5. Fifth Apprehension – April 21, 1998
        6. Sixth Apprehension – April 22, 1998
        7. Seventh Apprehension – November 3, 1998
  4. Chapter Four: The Investigation of Resendez for Murder
    1. The Murder of Dr. Benton
    2. The Police Attempt to Place Lookouts for Resendez
    3. The Police Contact Houston INS Investigators About Resendez
    4. A Texas Ranger Contacts Another Houston INS Investigator About Resendez
    5. The Weekly Intelligence Report With Information on Resendez
    6. The Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force
    7. The FBI Enters the Resendez Investigation
  5. Chapter Five: The Border Patrol Apprehends and Voluntarily Returns Resendez to Mexico on June 1, 1999
  6. Chapter Six: The Search for and Surrender of Resendez
    1. The FBI Multi-Agency Task Force
    2. A Lookout Notice is Sent to Border Patrol Sectors
    3. Resendez is Enrolled in IDENT’s Lookout Database
      1. Initiative by Border Patrol Agent Estevis
      2. Initiative by United States Marshals Service Inspector Sorukas
    4. The INS’s Investigation into the Resendez Matter
    5. Resendez Surrenders
  7. Chapter Seven: OIG Analysis of the Border Patrol’s Apprehensions and Voluntary Returns of Resendez in 1998 and 1999
    1. The Voluntary Returns of Resendez Were in Accord with Standard Border Patrol Practices and Procedures
    2. The Border Patrol Agents who Processed Resendez in IDENT Made Mistakes, Although These Mistakes Did Not Affect Their Decision to Voluntarily Return Resendez
      1. Allowing IDENT to Auto Verify Previous Apprehensions
      2. Denying Valid Hits
      3. Lack of Established Prosecution Thresholds
  8. Chapter Eight: OIG Analysis of the Actions of INS Investigators and Intelligence Officers Who Were Involved in the Resendez Case
    1. IDENT Lookout Policy
    2. Houston INS Investigators
      1. Special Agent Kelly Dozier
      2. Special Agent Marco Saltarelli and His Supervisors
      3. Special Agent Albert Plasket
    3. Information From IDENT Would Have Been Useful to The Law Enforcement Agencies Seeking Resendez
    4. INS Intelligence Officers from the Houston District Office and Central Region
    5. Other INS Employees
      1. INS Liaisons with the Gulf Coast Task Force
      2. Senior Special Agent Thomas Cason
    6. Conclusions
  9. Chapter Nine: OIG Analysis of Broader Problems with the INS’s Implementation and Use of IDENT
    1. The Design of IDENT
    2. The INS’s Implementation of IDENT
    3. IDENT Training
      1. Training Recommendations in the OIG’s 1998 Inspection Report and the INS’s Response
      2. The INS Failed to Train INS Employees Adequately on IDENT
        1. Training in the El Paso and Del Rio Border Patrol Sectors
        2. Training in the Houston Investigations Office
        3. Training for Intelligence Employees
    4. The IDENT Lookout and Alert Policy
      1. Development and Distribution of the Policy
        1. The OIG’s 1998 Inspection Report
        2. The INS’s Response
      2. Houston Investigations Office
      3. El Paso and Del Rio Border Patrol Sectors
      4. Detention and Deportation Offices
      5. Problems with IDENTIX Livescan Machines
    5. Conclusions
  10. Chapter Ten: Integration of IDENT with FBI Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems
    1. A. History of Efforts to Integrate INS and FBI Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems
      1. Early Discussions About Integration
      2. Deployment of IDENT
      3. JMD’s 1995 Report
      4. JMD’s 1998 Report
      5. Current Status of Integration
    2. Conclusions
  11. Chapter Eleven: OIG Recommendations
    1. The Operation of IDENT
    2. Training and Education on IDENT
    3. Integration of IDENT with Other Criminal and INS Databases
    4. Other Recommendations
  12. Chapter Eleven: OIG Conclusions

Appendix A: Glossary of Terms and Names

Appendix B: History of IDENT

Appendix C: INS and Criminal Databases

Appendix D: Details of Resendez's Criminal History

Appendix E: Exhibits


Timeline - Criminal History, Apprehensions, and Investigation of Rafael Resendez-RamirezTimeline - Criminal History, Apprehensions, and Investigation of Rafael Resendez-RamirezTimeline - Criminal History, Apprehensions, and Investigation of Rafael Resendez-RamirezTimeline - Criminal History, Apprehensions, and Investigation of Rafael Resendez-Ramirez

Map of Murder Locations and Dates

Map of Apprehensions of Resendez by the Border Patrol in 1998 and 1999