Former Guatemalan Special Forces Soldier Indicted for Making False Statements on Immigration Forms Regarding 1982 Massacre of Guatemalan Villagers

A former Guatemalan special forces soldier was indicted today by a federal grand jury in Palm Beach County, Fla., for lying on his naturalization application about his participation in a 1982 massacre at a Guatemalan village known as Dos Erres, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer for the Southern District of Florida and Assistant Secretary John Morton of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The one-count indictment charges Gilberto Jordan, 54, of Delray Beach, Fla., with unlawful procurement of U.S. citizenship. Jordan was previously charged via a criminal complaint on May 5, 2010. The indictment alleges that in approximately November 1982, a Guatemalan guerrilla group ambushed a military convoy near Dos Erres, Guatemala, killing soldiers and taking a number of rifles. In response, a patrol of approximately 20 Guatemalan special forces soldiers, known as "Kaibiles," including Jordan, were deployed in approximately December 1982 to the village of Dos Erres to search for the stolen rifles and find suspected guerillas. According to the indictment, members of the special patrol entered Dos Erres on or about Dec. 7, 1982. Another group of approximately 40 Kaibiles allegedly established a perimeter around the town to prevent anyone from entering or escaping. Members of the special patrol allegedly interrogated the villagers, searched their homes, and separated the men from the women and children.

The indictment alleges that the special patrol then proceeded to systematically murder the men, women and children at Dos Erres by, among other things, hitting them in the head with a hammer and then throwing them into the village well. Members of the special patrol also allegedly raped many of the women and girls at Dos Erres before killing them. According to the indictment, Jordan participated in the crimes committed at Dos Erres, including murder.

According to the previously filed criminal complaint, a Guatemalan judge appointed an Argentinean forensic anthropology team approximately 12 years after the Dos Erres massacre to exhume the corpses at the village. According to the complaint, this forensic team uncovered approximately 162 skeletal remains from the village well, whose deaths were presumed to have occurred in December 1982 as a result of traumatic injuries and gunshot wounds.

According to the court documents, Jordan applied to become a U.S. citizen in September 1996. The indictment alleges that in the application, Jordan falsely denied that he had ever served in the military or committed any crimes for which he had not been arrested. In July 1999, Jordan was interviewed by a naturalization examiner, and swore under oath that the statements he had earlier provided on the application were true and correct. Jordan was sworn in as a U.S. citizen on Aug. 25, 1999.

If convicted, Jordan faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and revocation of his U.S. citizenship.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Hillary Davidson and Brian Skaret of the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) of the Criminal Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Marie Villafaña of the Southern District of Florida. The case was investigated by ICE’s Office of Investigations in West Palm Beach and ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit. The Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs as well as ICE’s Offices of International Affairs provided assistance in this matter.

The Criminal Division announced the formation of HRSP on March 30, 2010, as part of the U.S. government’s efforts to bring human rights violators to justice and deny those violators safe haven in the United States. The new section represents a merger of the Criminal Division’s Domestic Security Section (DSS) and the Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit’s (HRVWCU) mission is to deny human rights violators and war criminals safe haven in the United States using all of its legal authorities. HRVWCU provides programmatic oversight over ICE investigations involving foreign war criminals, human rights violators, and those who within ICE’s jurisdiction, violate laws that fuel widespread overseas human rights abuses and conflicts. These include investigations relating to torture, genocide, war crimes, and the recruitment of child soldiers; and immigration and visa fraud where the underlying offense is based on substantive human rights abuses and war crimes.