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Everett man who allegedly served in Salvadoran military is charged with immigration fraud

A former Salvadoran government military officer who has been accused of colluding in the infamous killing of six Jesuit priests two decades ago has been charged with making false statements on immigration forms and committing perjury, the US attorney’s office announced today.

Inocente Orlando Montano, 69, was charged in a criminal information filed in federal court with one count of making false statements on an immigration application and one count of perjury.

Montano had already been charged in a criminal complaint in late August. The government, to move forward with the case, was procedurally required to charge him either by information or indictment, said Christina DiIoria Sterling, a US attorney’s spokeswoman. The perjury charge is also a new addition to the case, she said.

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Montano served as a military officer during the country’s 1979-1991 civil war and was El Salvador’s Vice-Minister for Public Security from 1989 to 1992, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Prosecutors noted that reports published in the early 1990s allege that human rights abuses were committed by the military during the civil war. One report implicated troops directly under Montano’s command, prosecutors said.

In 1993, prosecutors said, the United Nations Commission on the Truth for El Salvador published a report that found there was “substantial evidence that Montano colluded with other Salvadoran military officers to issue an order to murder a particular Jesuit priest at San Salvador’s Central American University and to leave no witnesses.”

The consequence of that order, according to the report, was the Nov. 15, 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests, an employee of the priests, and the employee’s daughter. The report also found that Montano and others took steps to conceal the truth about those murders, prosecutors said.

The federal charges stem from Montano’s filling out a federal immigration form and checking the boxes for “No” when asked whether he had ever served in a military, paramilitary, or police unit; whether he had ever been associated with a group that used weapons or threats against others; and whether he had ever received any type of military, paramilitary, or weapons training.

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“As the defendant then and there well knew, his response to each of the questions above was false,” prosecutors said in the information.

The Globe reported in mid-August that Montano had apparently been living for years in Massachusetts under his own name. Montano is among 20 former military officers charged with conspiring to kill the priests in international indictments issued in Spain in May.

Montano in late August was placed under home confinement at his sister’s home in Saugus. The court ordered him to wear an electronic monitoring device and post a $50,000 bond. The same conditions of release apply now that he has been charged in an information, DiIorio-Sterling said.