Map: Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant33.389207 -112.860731
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. -- Deputies with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office have arrested an illegal immigrant for allegedly attempting to enter the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant with false identification.
Nestor Martinez-Ochoa, 40, was taken into custody Wednesday morning on charges of using false ID and criminal trespass onto a commercial nuclear generating station.
Deputies were called to the plant after a member of Palo Verde’s security suspected that Martinez-Ochoa’s Arizona driver’s license was fake.
Martinez-Ochoa, who had been deported four times prior to Wednesday’s arrest, was interviewed by Sheriff’s Human Smuggling deputies and reportedly admitted that he was in the U.S. illegally and using a fake ID.
Martinez-Ochoa also revealed that he was an employee at a construction company.
Information provided by plant personnel has led deputies to believe that Martinez-Ochoa may have previously made it onto plant grounds, although not in a protected area.
“To a large extent, security at this nuclear power plant worked. Still, an illegal immigrant nearly gained access today into this facility and may well have been on the grounds previously,” said Sheriff Joe Arpaio. “This raises the question: how safe is Palo Verde really if an illegal alien can gain access to this nation’s largest nuclear power facility.”
Arpaio has ordered his deputies to investigate the construction company that hired Martinez-Ochoa.
Wednesday’s arrest isn’t the first time that an illegal immigrant has been arrested for trying to gain access to the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant.
Deputies also arrested Cruz Loya Alvares in July of 2011 for trying to use a fake ID to get onto the plant grounds.