Sophisticated fingerprint alteration helps suspect evade capture for 15 years
A drug trafficker who damaged his fingers and used micro-implants to avoid biometric fingerprint identification has been arrested after evading capture for 15 years, The Guardian reports.
Spanish police arrested the unnamed suspect in the city of Getafe, near Madrid, and revealed that the man had altered his fingerprints by cutting and burning the skin of his fingertips. This allowed him to travel internationally with false documents in the name of a Peruvian national, and he had also posed as a Croatian citizen.
“The suspect had modified and changed his fingerprints to such an extent that they were no longer recognizable,” police said in a- statement. The suspect had also undergone a hair transplant procedure to change his appearance.
“He’d used very sophisticated methods to alter the fingerprints of both hands so that he couldn’t be identified,” a police spokesperson told The Guardian. “He used skin implants to change the shape of his prints so that the scars beneath couldn’t be detected. It was a very sophisticated, specialist process that took place over a number of years.”
Authorities say the man had traveled to Morocco numerous times recently, possibly for activities related to drug trafficking and that he was caught with two encrypted phones.
In Massachusetts, which the FBI identified as the state with the most altered fingerprints in 2014, state police have arrested roughly 100 suspects per year since 2010 with altered fingerprints.