Brothers plead guilty to forgery

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, August 14, 2010

Three brothers residing in Austin pleaded guilty to felony forgery Friday in Mower County court after all three were found to be using fraudulent documents.

Carlos Elias-Vanegas, 28, Alejandro Elias-Vanegas, 22, and Sergio Elias-Vanegas, 37, could all also face deportation in federal court.

Sentencing dates have not been set in local court.

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Sergio Elias-Vanegas was the first of the three to be picked up when, in early July, he was found drunkenly passed out along the bike path on South Main Street at around midnight.

Sergio Elias-Vanegas was taken into jail, and officers found a wallet on him that had a Minnesota ID card in the name “Rodney Anthony Ortiz.” They also found a Hormel Foods employee card in the same name.

Sergio Elias-Vanegas later told police his true identity, and admitted that he had come to the U.S. illegally in 1997, a criminal complaint states.

He told police that he had purchased a birth certificate and Social Security card belonging to “Ortiz” for $1,500. Sergio Elias-Vanegas said his legitimate documents were located at home.

About a week later, police executed a search at 903 Seventh Place NE, where the other two brothers were living. A criminal complaint states that authorities found multiple documents, including pay stubs and ID cards, in several names linked to both men.

After the two were arrested, they each admitted to police that they had entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico.

Alejandro Elias-Vanegas, who said he had been working at Austin’s Quality Pork Processors for five years, denied that he had ever been deported from the country. He also said that he did not use multiple aliases, the complaint states.

His brother, Carlos Elias-Vanegas, admitted that he purchased birth certificates and Social Security cards in two different names — “Abraham Gomez” and “Marcos Reyna.”

Carlos Elias-Vanegas also told police that the three were among seven brothers, but that the rest resided in Mexico.