Task Force Busts Massive Fake ID Mill; Products 'Incredibly Realistic'
Agents of the SECURE Strike Force seized equipment used to make a wide variety of identity cards from different states and countries. They confiscated computers, printers, laminating machine, cutters and high quality blank printing stock from the operation's headquarters in Layton, about 25 miles from Salt Lake City.
Mexican consular identification cards, drivers' licenses from Utah and other states, Social Security cards and electrician licenses also were seized. Fake IDs can be used for anything from getting served alcohol in a bar to identity theft and terrorism."This is the first time we have ever seen fake documents needed for professional employment," SECURE Strike Force Commander Rhett McQuiston said in a statement. "We found incredibly realistic-looking identification documents. We have also never seen anyone creating false identification cards from so many states and federal government agencies."
The special branch of the AG's office was created to address violent crimes and identity crimes among Utah's illegal immigrant population. Three illegal immigrants -- Victor Zarco-Hernandez, 22, Caesar Hernandez Barajas, 36, and Juan Ramon Garcia Negrete, 20 -- were arrested and charged.
Agents say Zarco-Hernandez used runners to deliver fake IDs in Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties and may have been operating in other counties as well. The suspect has been apprehended four times for attempting to illegally enter the United States, McQuiston said.
As with all suspects, Zarco-Hernandez, Barajas and Negrete should be considered innocent unless they're found guilty in a court of law.
Consumers should be aware that con artists use fake IDs in scams. One classic con is to ask a person on the street for $25 to deal with an emergency, leaving a driver's license as collateral. The license turns out to be fake and the fraudster never returns.