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Altered fingerprints on the rise in Massachusetts

Massachusetts State Police have arrested 795 suspects with deliberately altered fingerprints since 2010 in the state identified as having the most altered fingerprints by the FBI in 2014, the Boston Herald reports.

Police began logging the discovery of altered prints in 2002, when three cases were found, and discovered 72 by 2010. In 2014, FBI officials in the Boston area began to consider the problem when a pair of doctors were arrested in separate cases offering to surgically alter the fingerprints of people in the country illegally or with criminal convictions.

The Herald reports Salem police officer James Bedard wrote in an arrest report that a man apprehended in June was found to have scars on the tip of every finger, and provided the identity information of a Puerto Rico resident, which was quickly established to be false. Identity fraud and possession of a fake driver’s license were added to the charges against the man.

State Police are now keeping records of all cases of fingerprint alteration as part of their effort to combat drug trafficking related to opioid use.

Biometrics Research Group Inc. projects that the global law enforcement biometrics market will grow to US$18 billion by 2020.