On Wednesday, July 10, at 3:50 p.m. a Pinal County Sheriff’s Office – K-9 Deputy was traveling westbound on Interstate-10 near mile marker 225. The deputy observed a 2011 Jeep Wrangler pass him and then he observed the driver commit moving traffic violations.
The Deputy stopped the vehicle and contacted the driver who was identified as Hector Sanchez, 23, and the front seat passenger Ruben Sanchez-Bustamante, 27. Both men were extremely nervous when stopped. They provided the deputy with conflicting information related to where they were coming from, where they were headed to and who owned the vehicle they were in.
Both men consented to allow the deputy to look inside of the vehicle. The deputy located 12 Home Depot Gift Cards each valued at $250 concealed within the dash compartment, fake identifications (Pennsylvania driver licenses), along with two fake credit cards which were located inside the passenger side door panel, concealed from view. The fake identifications displayed both of the occupant’s pictures on them with different identities. The individuals were detained for further investigation.
Detectives from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Property Crimes Unit responded to assist with the investigation.
The investigation revealed that the subjects were part of an organization based out of Mexico that uses fake coded credit cards along with false identifications to purchase gift cards and other items from retail stores in the United States. The items purchased are then trafficked back into Mexico and sold for profit.
Both subjects were arrested and booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center for Identity Theft, Possession of Stolen Property, Trafficking in Stolen Property and Fraudulent Schemes. Hector was arrested two months ago in California after he used fraudulent credit cards to purchase thousands of dollars in merchandise.
Both suspects are each being held on a $30,000 bond. The vehicle they were driving, the gift cards and the cash they had on their possession was seized.