14 “Would-be electricians” arrested on federal costs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The state firefighter’s office says they blew up fake electricians.

According to the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office, over a dozen people who had traveled to Charleston to take a state electrician exam were arrested on federal charges for being in the United States illegally.

Officials say they became suspicious of the examination requests when they were received earlier this month. The investigation revealed that several applications were flagged. Investigators worked with enforcement and removal actions at the U.S. Immigration Service.

A targeted enforcement action took place on October 6th at the test site. 14 people were arrested.

“The men and women of ICE have a vital role in arresting and removing foreign criminals, and we will continue to perform our Congress-intended duty with integrity, courage and professionalism.” said ERO Philadelphia Field Office Director Simona L. Flores-Lund. “ICE will continue to work with our law enforcement partners, including the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office, to vigorously investigate individuals attempting to evade immigration laws.”

The Fire Marshal’s Office says they administer and enforce the state electrical licensing program.

Several authorities of the W.Va. Department of Homeland Security helped with the case, including West Virginia State Police, West Virginia Fusion Center, and the Corrections and Rehabilitation Department. The Charleston Police and the City Homeland Security Bureau also helped.

“This case underscores the importance of safety rules to protect the public,” said State Fire Brigade Marshal Ken Tree. “In addition to the threat of unsafe or dangerous work, there is the possibility of further fraud and compromises in the licensing process. West Virginia’s electrical licensing program is reciprocal with several other states and this could jeopardize their respective programs. “

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