Airport worker detained
for security-access fraud

Star-Bulletin staff

A Honolulu airport maintenance worker charged with using someone else's Social Security number to obtain an airport security access badge was ordered detained without bail yesterday.

U.S. Magistrate Kevin Chang found that Alejandro Gonzalez, 31, of lower Makiki, was a flight risk and ordered him held until his trial.

Gonzalez was indicted Feb. 13 for making a false statement and misusing a Social Security number. The access badge he obtained by his misrepresentations gave him access to runways, ramps and certain aircraft. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Hino had said at Gonzalez's arraignment that Gonzalez admitted to entering the country illegally on more than one occasion, as early as 1989, and that he still is an illegal alien.

Yesterday, Hino argued that Gonzalez had not disclosed a 1992 firearm conviction in California.

And shortly after Gonzalez's arrival in the United States in 1989, he was arrested for identification fraud and theft and subsequently convicted of the theft charge, Hino said.

"Not only was he not using a genuine Social Security number, but by his own admission, he was an illegal alien who entered the country illegally and has a criminal conviction that would very likely disqualify him for security clearance," Hino said.

Assistant federal public defender Pam Byrne had requested that Gonzalez be transferred to Miller Hale, a halfway house.

Gonzalez was one of 6,000 Honolulu Airport employees checked under Operation Tarmac, a national multiagency investigation to promote heightened security at the nation's airports. He was the sole security breach uncovered that warranted a criminal prosecution.

If convicted, Gonzalez faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the charges.

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