BOSTON (AP) _ The number of criminals attempting to hide their identities through fingerprint alteration is rising in Massachusetts and the FBI has designated the state as a hot spot for fingerprint alteration.

Massachusetts State Police officials say they have identified 867 suspects arrested with deliberately altered fingerprints _ most within the past few years. The Boston Herald reports the FBI flagged Massachusetts after studying records related to criminal fingerprint erasures.

Boston-area FBI officials began to keep an eye out for altered prints in 2014 after two doctors were busted in two separate cases for allegedly offering to surgically alter the fingerprints of convicted criminals and immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

State police say they seek to combat the opioid crisis by keeping records of all altered fingerprint cases.

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