Herald JournalHerald Journal, Aug. 4, 2003

Illegal immigrants found in LP trailer park

By Ryan Gueningsman

Five people have been found to be living illegally in the United States in Lester Prairie.

An investigation for welfare fraud led police to find fake social security and identification cards and papers at a trailer in the Lester Prairie trailer park.

Ruelas Rocio, aka Delanna Martinez, will be charged with welfare fraud, which is a felony, said Lester Prairie Police Chief Bob Carlson.

She has been working at a Chaska company receiving paychecks under one name, and receiving welfare checks from McLeod County under another name, Carlson said. She has also been living in the country illegally.

"Based on evidence obtained, there may be two other people found to be doing the same thing (welfare fraud)," Carlson said.

Four other individuals admitted to authorities that they are illegal immigrants. The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service has been called to assist with this investigation, Carlson said.

Residents in the trailer park own their own trailers, while the court itself is privately owned. It appeared that 12 people were residing in one trailer, which is in violation of the trailer park's rules, and also a safety concern, Carlson said.

"The owner has been contacted and made aware of the situation," he said.

There have been several cases of welfare fraud in Lester Prairie in the past several years.

"Although it's not common, it is present in our community," Carlson said.

Michelle Lee Flanagan was found to be guilty of the same crime in September 2000. Her and her husband Sean are both at large and wanted by police, Carlson said.

It is believed they moved back to the Nevada/Utah area. Sean is wanted in connection with a second degree burglary charge in Wright County.

Roberto Franco Salazar and his wife Myrna are also still at large, with a warrant out for their arrest for committing welfare fraud from January through June of 2001.

The couple lived in the Lester Prairie trailer park, and operated a bakery in Glencoe, in which they did not report any income, according to a criminal complaint.

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