A Porter Ranch, California, man has been arrested for allegedly running an illegal “document mill” that cranked out fake IDs, including Transportation Worker Identification Credentials, allowing access to sensitive areas such as the port of Los Angeles, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Feb. 5.
Brian Allen Dunmore, 54, was arrested Feb. 3 by agents of the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Services, which investigates makers of bogus identification such as TWIC cards.
A federal criminal complaint filed early this week charged him with one count of unlawfully possessing and producing an authentication feature. If convicted, he could serve up to 15 years in federal prison.
A U.S. District Court judge on Feb. 3 ordered Dunmore be held without bond because he was a convicted felon who had allegedly harbored a cache of guns at home.
“Our national security depends in part upon our ability to restrict access to sensitive areas, including significant transportation hubs such as the Port of Los Angeles,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. “Here, false identification documents were given to unauthorized individuals by a person who also illegally possessed an arsenal of high-powered weapons, making this crime extremely serious.”
Special agents with CGIS on Feb. 4 arrested a second man allegedly involved in trafficking counterfeit documents. A man charged in a second criminal complaint under the name Ricardo “Coy” Gama-Diaz, appeared in federal court and said his true name was Ricardo Rios-Gama.
Rios-Gama, 51, of South Park in Los Angeles, was charged with producing a false identification document after he allegedly sold undercover agents counterfeit identification documents – including bogus TWICs, California driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and “Green Cards.”
Federal prosecutors say Dunmore operated a document mill in Sylmar, according to an affidavit filed in his case.
They said Dunmore allegedly agreed to sell to undercover agents a computer program, printer and card stock with microchips to produce and manufacture TWIC cards and other government identification documents, such as Social Security cards, Mexican identification cards, and California driver’s licenses.
Dunmore produced a TWIC card and a Mexican identification card for the agents, according to the complaint.
A TWIC is a worker identification card issued by the Transportation Security Administration that grants access to access secure areas of the Port of Los Angeles. People issued such cards must undergo a security background check.
But because some people are ineligible to obtain a TWIC because of a lack of immigration status and other reasons, a black market for these documents has developed, according to the USGIS investigation.
“The fraudulent manufacturing and sales of official identification documents required to gain access to secure areas directly threatens and undercuts efforts in maintaining security within our nation’s ports” said Jon Finnegan, CGIS special agent in charge. “The United States Coast Guard Investigative Service shall continue to aggressively pursue those violators and work with the United States Attorney’s Office seeking prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”
A search warrant of Dunmore’s home, made in conjunction with his arrest, recovered equipment that appeared to be used to create false identifications, prosecutors said.
The CGIS agents also recovered an arsenal of weapons and ammunition, including a fully-automatic Tec-9, two AR-15 rifles with more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition and an AK-47. At his court hearing Feb. 3, federal prosecutors successfully argued that Dunmore posed a danger to the community because he was a felon illegally in possession of a host of weapons. Eleven of the guns were unregistered and among the thousands of rounds of ammunition, agents recovered at least 15 high-capacity magazines.
He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Feb. 17 and is slated to be arraigned on Feb. 23.
Rios-Gama was ordered freed Feb. 4 in lieu of $10,000 bond but will be subject to electronic monitoring. He was ordered back to federal court Feb. 25 for a preliminary hearing and March 2 for an arraignment.
If convicted, each defendant would face a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.