U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted seven counterfeit and altered African passports in Philadelphia on July 22 that were destined to an address in Palm Beach County, Florida.
While examining arriving international air parcels, CBP officers inspected a shipment from Turkey manifested as documents. Inside officers discovered seven passports from African nations that appeared altered, lacked sufficient security features and used identical photos in more than one passport. The seven passports were allegedly issued by the governments of Angola, Benin, Gambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
CBP officers seized the passports. An investigation continues.
“These counterfeit passports pose a serious security threat to the United States because they might have been used by nefarious persons to violate our nation’s immigration laws to gain benefits or to cause severe harm to our nation and our citizens,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.
Counterfeit or altered passports may also involve the theft of an innocent victim’s identity.