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State Task Force Takes Down Undocumented Immigrants Making Fake IDs

(Phoenix, Ariz. – March 13, 2009) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced numerous felony charges relating to the manufacture and sale of fake identification against two Mexican nationals believed to be living in the U.S. illegally. Both cases are the result of investigations by the Arizona Fraudulent Identity Task Force (AFIT).

Isaac Abraham Santana-Rios, 36, of Mesa, has been charged with one count of illegally conducting an enterprise, a Class 3 felony; one count of misconduct involving weapons, a Class 4 felony; one count of trafficking in the identity of another, a Class 2 felony; one count of criminal possession of a forgery device, a Class 5 felony; one count of endangerment, a Class 6 felony, and two counts of forgery, a Class 4 felony.

Between February 2009 and March 5, 2009, Santana-Rios is alleged to have manufactured and trained others to make fraudulent Social Security cards and permanent resident alien cards.

Earlier this month, AFIT investigators served a search warrant at Santana-Rios's home in Mesa.  They seized a computer, camera, printer/scanner, ink stamp displaying a Mexican government emblem and card stock commonly used to produce fraudulent Social Security cards.  Two handguns were also found in the home.

According to ICE, Santana-Rios is living in U.S. illegally.  He is being held without bond.

Investigative reports allege that Francisco Javier Espinoza-Hernandez, 31, of Mesa, was trained in false document production by Santana-Rios.  Espinoza-Hernandez has been charged with one count of illegally conducting an enterprise, a Class 3 felony; four counts of trafficking in the identity of another, a Class 2 felony, and 11 counts of forgery, a Class 4 felony.  

Last month, Espinoza-Hernandez allegedly forged four Arizona driver's licenses, six Social Security cards and two permanent resident alien cards and sold them to an undercover AFIT detective.  

When investigators followed Espinoza-Hernandez to his home in Mesa, they said they found paper stock, a computer and a printer commonly used to manufacturer fraudulent Social Security cards. Investigators also allegedly found fraudulent Arizona driver’s licenses and permanent resident cards manufactured by Espinoza-Hernandez.

Espinoza-Hernandez is believed to reside in the U.S. illegally. He is being held without bond. 

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Beverly Rudnick.  Copies of the defendants’ indictments and photographs of the defendants are attached. 

The Arizona Fraudulent Identification Task Force (AFIT) was created in 2005 to combat Arizona’s fake-document trade. The task force is overseen by the Arizona Department of Homeland Security and comprised of investigators from 10 other local, state and federal agencies, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Phoenix Police Department, Arizona Department of Liquor, Arizona Department of Gaming, Arizona Department of Transportation, ICE and the U.S. Border Patrol.