Los Angeles man stuck in Mexico after identity stolen

SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- A Los Angeles man is stranded south of the U.S.-Mexico border after his identity was stolen, his attorney says.

On March 1, Carlos Montoya was returning from Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing. He doesn't have a passport, so he showed his California identification card, Social Security card and birth certificate.

When agents checked his fingerprints, someone else's picture popped up on the computer screen.

"Then all of a sudden it became a nightmare. The agents of Customs and Border Patrol accused him of being an impostor and told him, 'No this is not your ID,'" attorney Luis Carrillo said at a Monday news conference.

The family believes Montoya is the victim of identity theft and that somehow the other person's photo showed up with Montoya's name.

Carrillo said border agents arrested and imprisoned Montoya for three days. They allegedly pressured him to sign a false document.

"An agent tells him, 'Look if you invent a false name and you agree with what we tell you, you can go free,'" Carrillo said. "Under those kinds of pressure, being locked up for three days, facing ten years (in prison)... then he signs and agrees to whatever they were telling him."

Montoya said he often travels back and forth to Mexico with these documents and has never had a problem before.

"Obviously, he should have had a United States passport, but because he came and went with the same documents... he didn't go get a passport," Carrillo said.

Carrillo has written a letter to the Inspector General to investigate possible criminal conduct.

"Now that somebody out there has his identity, he's paying for the other person's actions," Carrillo said.

Border officials wouldn't comment about the specific case, but said U.S. citizens are allowed to enter the country with just a valid driver's license.

For now, Montoya waits in Mexico. Authorities at the U.S. Consulate say they are investigating and trying to get him a passport, but that could take 2-3 months.

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