U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations announced the arrest this week of a citizen of Gambia on charges of false claim to U.S. citizenship, fraud and misuse of a passport. The subject is also wanted on charges of credit card fraud.
On Dec. 30, CBP officers encountered a 26-year-old male at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge border crossing in Lewiston. The subject was being returned to the United States by Canadian authorities after being denied entry into Canada on the same date. The subject advised CBP officers that he was a United States citizen and presented a U.S. passport as proof of citizenship and identity.
Initial examination of the presented document revealed what appeared to be inconsistencies on the biographic page. The subject was referred to CBP secondary enforcement for verification of his citizenship.
During the course of the secondary interview, the subject again advised CBP officers that he was a U.S. citizen, born and raised in Bronx, N.Y., and has spent his entire life in the United States. CBP officer noticed the subject had an accent not consistent with someone who had grown up in the New York City area.
A query of the subject's fingerprints resulted in the discovery of a record indicating the prints belonged to Ebrima Sumareh, a 26-year-old citizen from Gambia. Additional record checks revealed that Sumareh had an active federal warrant of arrest issued by the U.S. Secret Service on Dec. 14 of this year. The warrant charged Sumareh with the illegal use of a credit card.
When confronted with the evidence discovered by CBP, the subject recanted his original claim to U.S. citizenship and advised CBP officers that he was in fact a citizen of Gambia. Sumareh advised CBP officers that he stole the presented passport from his cousin and was aware of his active warrant of arrest. He further stated that he had recently escaped from a halfway house in Ohio, where he was being held pending federal prosecution.
Sumareh was arrested by CBP officers and charged with false claim to citizenship, fraud and false statements. He is currently being detained at the Niagara County Jail pending prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of New York.