AG’s office makes several arrests in fake ID

AG’s office makes several arrests in fake ID

“It’s not that Natalie Portman misses out on a little bit of a royalty. The distribution company loses out. The employees lose out. The trucking company that brings (DVDs) to Utah loses out. The Walmart that sells the DVDs loses out. And most importantly, we all lose out because of tax revenue,” Wallentine said. “There’s a huge profit.”With money to be made in these criminal enterprises, established street gangs known in the past for violence, drug and weapons trafficking are getting in on the action.The string of busts began with Coronado on Feb. 24. Investigators said he was running an extremely lucrative DVD and CD pirating business out of his home in Magna. He was so brazen about his operation that he had a sign in full view placed in his car vehicle, written in Spanish, advertising his business, Wallentine said.After obtaining a search warrant, investigators found a high quality replicating machine for burning CDs and DVDs, as well as meth which Coronado told agents he only used on weekends to help him come up with “creative ideas” to make money, according to Wallentine.Pirating DVDs and CDs is a “very significantly impacting economic crime,” he said. In Los Angeles, illegal DVDs and CDs cost the city an estimated $2 billion a year, he said.Salt Lake, Kearns pirating and fake ID operation bustedThe arrests continued Tuesday night when four people, who had ties to an established street gang in Utah, were arrested in a separate operation for allegedly delivering fake IDs to illegal immigrants.”It’s the first time we’ve seen a violent street gang in this business,” Wallentine said, adding that he believes it’s something law enforcers will start seeing more of.”The gang bangers are saying, ‘Why should someone else be making money off this? We already have distribution guys for drugs and weapons. filltrustid.com We should be setting up for fake IDs.'”Franco E. Torres Yanez, 25, was arrested for investigation of racketeering and forgery. He also had six outstanding warrants. Investigators say Yanez is an illegal immigrant from Argentina.Julio Escutia Rojas, 21, David Herrera Gomez, 56, and Escutia (no other name given), 20, all from Mexico, were arrested for investigation of a variety of charges including possession of drug paraphernalia, giving false information to police, concealed weapons violations and forgery. Rojas and Gomez also face aggravated re entry into the United States charges.”These are genuine hardcore bad guys,” Wallentine said.The alleged mastermind behind the operation, according to law enforcers, was Victor Zarco Hernandez, 22. Investigators say he invested in high end laptops, downloaded the right software, and was allegedly making a lot of money for producing fake IDs and documents.Hernandez was unique for a couple of reasons, Wallentine said. He had allegedly set up a network of “runners” who would drive to several parts of the state, collect a picture and money from the person wanting the fake documents, and then deliver the fake IDs once they were completed.When officers searched Hernandez’s house, they said they found about 100 completed orders ready for distribution and another list of 100 names on a waiting list. Each order cost $300 and included a fake Social Security card, a fake Mexican Consular ID and a fake driver’s license. Some of the licenses were from states other than Utah, said Wallentine. filltrustid.com What also made Hernandez’s operation unique was that he was allegedly printing fake trade licenses, something Wallentine’s office had never seen.”Now you can use a fake ID to get a higher paying job,” he said.That’s a problem that affects all Utah residents, not just a certain population, Wallentine said.”Do you want your house wired by a guy who has (an electrician’s license) who says he’s licensed when in fact you don’t know if he has any clue when he pulls wires through your house?”It’s a problem that has the potential to spread beyond the illegal immigrant community, he said.Computers, printers, a laminating machine and high quality blank printing stock were seized along with Mexican consular ID cards, driver licenses from Utah and other states, Social Security cards, electrician licenses and two guns.Hernandez, 22, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of numerous felony charges, including racketeering. Judging from his house, vehicle and the number of orders he was allegedly processing, investigators believe he was running an extremely lucrative business.Investigators say Hernandez was previously arrested four times for attempted entry into the United States but was stopped at the border each time. He has not been deported before.Caesar Hernandez Barajas, 36, and Juan Ramon Garcia Negrete, 20, were arrested Wednesday night in Provo in connection with the Layton operation. Both undocumented residents were booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of forgery of government documents.While the SECURE Strike Force was formed to specifically target crimes committed by illegal immigrants, Wallentine noted that it was illegal immigrants not involved in criminal activity who bring these cases to their attention.”How do you think we find out about (these people who were arrested)? It’s undocumented people scared in their community and scared for the children in their community,” he said. “There’s a tremendous network of people who are just like you and me who are concerned about the crime down the street. If it were not for the tremendous cooperation from the undocumented community, buy fake ids we wouldn’t know who is committing these crimes.”

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