Guantánamo Navy photographer in Miami lock-up

Miami HeraldJune 23, 2011 

A Miami veteran of U.S. service in Iraq, who took some of the military’s most intimate photos of captives in the prison camps at Guantánamo as a combat photographer, was in a detention center Thursday, facing a federal fraud trial.

Federal prosecutors charge that former Petty Officer 2nd Class Elisha Leo Dawkins, 26, committed a crime when he applied for a U.S. Passport April 3, 2006. The government says he made a false statement, a felony, when he failed to disclose that he had three years earlier started the process of applying for a passport. Conviction could carry 10 years in prison.

A classic South Florida tale, Dawkins grew up in Miami, went to Poinciana Park Elementary, competed in sports at Miami Central High School and served in the military, with distinction, only to return to an arrest and possible deportation to The Bahamas.

His lawyer says he grew up fatherless and estranged from his mother believing he was a U.S. citizen. He even obtained a Florida Birth Certificate to get a passport to travel to war as a soldier, with neither the Navy, the Army nor the state of Florida apparently aware of a two-decade-old immigration service removal order issued when he was 8 years old.

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