Our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members who are special agents with the California Department of Justice have a well deserved reputation for chasing down violent criminals and drug dealers and uncovering arsenals of dangerous weapons, but there's something else with which they are tasked: Cracking false identification rings that can lead to equally as dangerous criminal activity.
Special agents went undercover in a four-month operation and bought counterfeit driver's licenses, green cards and a social security card from two Sacramento men willing to make and sell phony documents that criminals, even terrorists could use to cover their tracks.
"We're talking about dozens of phony documents that our special agents purchased. In the hands of criminals those documents are gold," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "A false document in the hands of a criminal can be just as dangerous as a weapon, it can be used to hurt people."
According to a Department of Justice press release, the special agents purchased counterfeit green cards purported to be for people from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Russia and China.
Arrested were Laurel Velasquez, 30, and Pedro Izehuatl, 45, both of Sacramento. They are accused of operating a ring that sold not only counterfeit green cards, I-D cards, driver's licenses, and social security cards, but passports as well. The two men are charged with 14 counts of forgery or counterfeiting of government identification cards and conspiracy.