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Man who worked at W.H. indicted

From Terry Frieden
CNN Washington Bureau

immigrant
Martinez-Gonzales with Bill Clinton

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An illegal immigrant who worked on the White House grounds for two years -- rubbing elbows with the likes of Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney -- has been indicted in Texas where he is in federal custody, federal law enforcement sources told CNN Friday.

Salvador Martinez-Gonzalez, 30, a Mexican citizen, was indicted by a grand jury December 17 on charges of illegal re-entry into the United States and possession of false documents, the U.S. attorney's office in Houston said in a press release.

He was arrested last month at the Laredo port of entry when he tried to come back into the country.

With him were photos showing him with then-President Clinton and with current Vice President Cheney and his wife, Lynne, federal officials said.

Authorities said Martinez-Gonzalez posed as Kelvin Rodriguez, a U.S. citizen from Puerto Rico, and was hired by contractor HDO Productions Inc., the firm that designs and sets up outdoor social functions at the White House.

Martinez-Gonzalez, who supervised the set-up of tents, left his job last fall, apparently of his own choosing.

When he attempted to re-enter the United States on December 2, authorities determined Martinez-Gonzalez had been apprehended in Brownsville, Texas, in 2000.

At the time, he was released and ordered to leave the country. Instead, he assumed a new identity and found the job in Washington, the sources said.

immigrant
Martinez-Gonzales with Dick and Lynne Cheney

The Secret Service said the case involved no threat. "There is absolutely no evidence that this individual ever posed any threat whatsoever to either the facilities or our protectees," a Secret Service official told CNN.

The official also said the personal history and document information of an individual admitted to the White House complex is only one tool among many used to maintain security.

Members of the public also often manage to get a handshake or a photo with the president, the official said.

If convicted, Martinez-Gonzalez could be sentenced to up to two years in prison on the illegal re-entry count and up to 10 years on the false passport charge, the U.S. attorney's office said.

His next scheduled court appearance is February 13.



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