Immigration Agents Investigate Morales
February 22, 2008, 6:03 PM
Federal agents say Alianiss Morales had been living in Minnesota illegally, using a fake ID. She could eventually be deported, but not before she faces the vehicular homicide charges.
Today in court, the Lyon County attorney said federal immigration agents have determined that the real Alianiss Morales is from Puerto Rico where agents questioned her grandparents. They told them the woman arrested for causing the Cottonwood bus crash is not their granddaughter.
The suspect sat quietly in court on a wheelchair and told the judge, through an interpreter, that her real name was Alianiss Nunez Morales. A claim that federal immigration agents dispute. Claude Arnold of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement said, "Yesterday, our agents developed probable cause that Ms. Nunez-Morales is in the country illegally and that that is not her true identity."
As Morales faces vehicular homicide charges, federal agents have launched an investigation of their own, to determine just who she really is. Tim Counts of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement said, "We use fingerprints, we use photographs, we use databases, not only our databases but criminal databases from all other law enforcement agencies and perhaps the most effective tool is that we're very skilled at interviewing and determining somebody's legal status."
If Morales is found guilty of the traffic charges, she'd still serve her sentence in the United States. A federal immigration judge would then determine whether Morales will be deported, a process investigators say could take months, or even years.
Arnold said, "ICE is a full partner in this investigation of this tragedy and we'll do everything in our power to ensure that justice is served."
In court today, Morales said she has an aunt and cousins who live in the area. But the county attorney called her family ties to the area "sketchy."
He says she's been living in the Minneota area for only a month or less and considers her an "extreme flight risk." Morales will be back in court on in April.
© 2008 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.
5/19/2013 11:56 AM
The Hand County Sheriff’s Office is searching for Leroy Nye, who was last seen at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 18.
5/15/2013 6:12 AM
The Yankton County Sheriff's Office has seized a vehicle that authorities believe was involved in a fatal hit-and-run incident.
5/19/2013 5:22 PM
Police are still actively searching for Leroy Nye, 80, who went missing from a home in St. Lawrence, SD and are asking for your help.
5/16/2013 12:09 PM
It wasn't the big jackpot, but more than two-dozen workers at a Sioux Falls company won't mind splitting the second-place winnings in Wednesda...
5/18/2013 10:14 PM
Emergency responders airlifted a Faulkton High School senior to a Sioux Falls hospital Saturday after a single vehicle car crash the day before her hi...