SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the arrest today of two people charged with 14 counts of forgery or counterfeiting of government identification cards and conspiracy.
The AG's office adds, the two individuals operated in a counterfeit identification ring that sold federal immigration documents (green cards), California identification cards and driver's licenses, social security cards and passports.
Laurel Velasquez, 30, and Pedro Izehuatl, 45, of Sacramento were arrested on Wednesday after a four-month investigation by the California Department of Justice eCrime Unit and Special Crimes Unit. During the undercover operation, Velasquez and Izehuatl sold California Department of Justice Special Agents counterfeit driver's licenses, green cards and a social security card.
In July 2012, the California Department of Justice received information about a potential counterfeit identification document ring and initiated an investigation which resulted in the identification of Laurel Velasquez as a seller of counterfeit items. Special agents subsequently conducted undercover operations from July to October 2012, during which they purchased dozens of counterfeit federal green cards, California driver's licenses and a social security card from Velasquez for $100 each. The counterfeit green cards purchased were for individuals purported to be from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Russia and China.
Special agents were able to determine that the counterfeit items were being manufactured by another individual and on several occasions special agents observed this other individual meeting with the seller just prior to the counterfeit items being sold.
On October 24, DOJ agents served search warrants on the seller's residence and the suspected manufacturer's residence. During the service of these search warrants, sophisticated equipment used to create counterfeit identity documents was seized and Velasquez and Izehuatl were arrested. Both were booked into the Sacramento County Jail. Arraignment of both individuals is scheduled for Monday in Sacramento County Superior Court.
During this investigation, the California Department of Justice worked with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The eCrime Unit identifies and prosecutes identity theft crimes, cyber crimes and other crimes involving the use of technology.
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