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August 21, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Feds: Man posed as immigration officer in Seattle

The Associated Press

Authorities say they believe a man spent years posing as an immigration officer in the Seattle-Tacoma area and used threats to coerce undocumented immigrants into doing what he wanted.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Tuesday they’re looking for possible victims of 36-year-old Jose Antonio Haughton, better known as “Panama.” Haughton is being held at the King County Jail on state charges that he coerced a woman into giving him money and sex, and investigators say he threatened other immigrants as well.

ICE said Haughton promised to expedite applications for immigration benefits for a fee, and that he’d even go as far as accompanying immigrants to a Homeland Security office to convince them of his credibility.

Officials said any undocumented victims might be nervous about coming forward to law enforcement, but they noted that victims who do help investigators could be eligible to apply for lawful status.

Haughton has criminal convictions in Colorado, Montana and New York.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Extortion, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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