LAS VEGAS – Two Mexican nationals convicted of operating a large-scale counterfeit document mill and selling the phony cards at area swap meets have been sentenced to multi-year prison terms following an undercover probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).
Jose Navarro-Parra, 38, and his female business partner Libia Bustillos-Gonzalez, 30, were sentenced Friday in Clark County District Court. Each received a sentence of two to five years in prison. Navarro and Bustillos, both of whom are in the U.S. illegally, will be placed in deportation proceedings upon completion of their prison terms.
In January, the defendants pleaded guilty to state charges of establishing and possessing a financial forgery laboratory. The two were arrested in March 2012 after HSI special agents and LVMP detectives executed search warrants at their respective residences, recovering an array of document counterfeiting equipment and supplies. The items seized during those searches included computers, printers, laminating machines, card stock and $18,000 in cash.
"These sentences should serve as a sobering warning for anyone involved in the counterfeit document trade," said Michael Harris, assistant special agent in charge for HSI Las Vegas. "Those who knowingly and indiscriminately sell phony identity documents are putting the security of our communities and even our country at risk, which is why these cases are a top priority for Homeland Security Investigations."
Investigators say the scheme represents one of the larger document counterfeiting operations uncovered in the Las Vegas area. While the pair primarily sold phony documents at swap meets in the Las Vegas area, evidence indicates they also produced cards for clients in other parts of the U.S. The counterfeit documents included "green cards," Social Security cards and driver's licenses from multiple states, including Nevada, Virginia, Colorado and Texas. The defendants charged $100 for a packet containing a "green card" and a Social Security card. A phony driver's license cost an additional $180. According to investigators, the counterfeit documents manufactured by the pair were of high quality.