A Curious Case

A Colombian woman was indicted in 1995 or so on a historical cocaine conspiracy case. While several co-defendants named along with her were arrested, extradited and went to jail, she stayed in Colombia and avoided extradition. Let’s call her Carolina. Carolina had stolen the ID card of her sister-in-law, Marta. Marta is blameless, an outstanding citizen.

At some point, Marta found out that Carolina had stolen her identity, resulting in Marta’s being named in the indictment. Of course, since Marta didn’t do anything wrong–we’ll leave to the side the somewhat philosophical issue of failing to report the identity theft to the authorities–she didn’t do anything with respect to the indictment in Miami. Marta’s daughter grew up and moved to Florida. She has invited her mother, Marta, to the US for a mother-daughter weekend. Marta is afraid that if she requests a visa, the indictment will turn up.

Indeed, it will.

Could I talk to the DEA in Bogota and resolve matters? Carolina is, of course, not easily found, does not want to get involved, does not want to surrender, yada yada yada.

I pointed out that no visa is needed, if Marta goes to the Embassy they will be happy to arrest her and put her on a plane to Miami. Her defense of, “it’s not me, my sister-in-law stole my identity” is essentially a “yo no fui defense,” and like any other, will be left to a very skeptical American jury.