A large-scale scheme to produce bogus U.S. immigration cards, driver licenses, and social security cards was shut down by Metro Police with the help of an informant late last week.
The investigation by Central Precinct detectives began after a police informant reported that one of the suspects, Alfonzo De La Luz, had approached him in a South Nashville Wal-Mart, gave him a business card, and offered to produce bogus government identification cards bearing the informant’s photograph and any name he chose.
The price quoted was $270 for an immigration card, driver license and social security card.
De La Luz, 20, and a co-defendant, Senon Gines-Ramos, 19, were stopped by police Wednesday evening while en route to deliver the fake IDs, which the informant had requested be in the name of “Ronal Cerpas,” an obvious nod to Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas.
Oddly, De La Luz, Gines-Ramos, and a third defendant, Estela Gonzalez, 25, produced the fake IDs with the name of 'Serpas' and not 'Cerpas' as requested, police said.
According to reports, detectives then executed a search warrant at Gonzalez’s apartment in the Signature Pointe complex on Piccadilly Row, where the counterfeit cards were being made. Inside officers found 289 completed cards, 667 blanks, a camera, three computers, two copiers, and a laminator.
The three suspects were charged with multiple counts of criminal simulation. Due to the extensive nature of this operation, the United States Secret Service is working with Central Precinct detectives to analyze the evidence and determine whether others are involved.
“Bogus ID operations like this have the potential to impact scores of victims in our community, from retail outlets, to banks, to persons whose legitimate social security numbers may have been fraudulently used,” Chief Serpas said. “Detective Steve Ray did an excellent job of developing this case with the information brought to him by an informant.”
Bond for De La Luz, Gines-Ramos, and Gonzalez is set at $75,000 each. Immigration holds have also been placed on them because they are suspected of being in the country illegally.