SACRAMENTO — California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) investigators in Vallejo assisted federal agents in an identity theft case that concluded with a 12 year prison sentence for a Mexican national. Eliecer Reyes Huerta, 31, was sentenced on April 10, 2015 for possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute, unlawfully possessing a firearm, and aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, Huerta had been removed from the United States in 2006 and lacked lawful immigration status to be in the United States. On July 30, 2012, Huerta submitted an application for a U.S. passport to a passport acceptance officer in Vallejo. In the application, Huerta provided a false name belonging to a real person, a false birth date, and a false birthplace in Puerto Rico. Huerta presented a birth certificate issued for the ID theft victim and a California driver’s license bearing Huerta’s photograph and the victim’s name and birth date. Federal agents and DMV investigators searched Huerta’s residence in Vallejo and found baggies containing methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana; two digital scales, miscellaneous supplies and substances that may be used in the manufacture of controlled substances. In Huerta’s bedroom closet, agents and investigators found a 9 mm semi-automatic Sig Sauer Model P226 handgun. Next to the firearm was a Sig Sauer handgun magazine loaded with seven rounds of 9 mm ammunition. Two children were living in the home at the time of the search.
“Individuals who use false or stolen identities are often engaged in other dangerous criminal activities and are a threat to the citizens of the United States," said David Zebley, Special Agent-In-Charge of the Diplomatic Security Service's San Francisco Field Office. “The Diplomatic Security Service is committed to investigating and pursuing anyone who applies for or obtains a United States passport using false documents, particularly when a U.S. Citizen's identity is stolen.”
"As DMV investigators, we are guardians of the identities of millions of Californians," said Kenny Ehrman, president of the Association of Motor Vehicle Investigators of California (AMVIC) and vice president of CSLEA FOP Lodge 77. "California Driver Licenses are used for everything from cashing checks to obtaining loans. We work with local, state, federal, and agencies outside of California to find, arrest and prosecute identity thieves."
This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.