LOS ANGELES – A Porter Ranch man who allegedly operated a “document mill” in Sylmar that produced fake IDs – including the credentials used to access secure areas of the Port of Los Angeles – has been arrested on federal charges of illegally manufacturing the counterfeit documents.
Brian Allen Dunmore, 54, was arrested Wednesday by special agents with the United States Coast Guard Investigative Services (CGIS), which is involved in an ongoing investigation into document mills that manufacture fraudulent identification, such as Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs), which are needed to access secure areas of the Port of Los Angeles.
Dunmore was arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint filed on Monday that charges him with one count of unlawfully possessing and producing an authentication feature. At his initial appearance Wednesday afternoon in United States District Court, Dunmore was ordered detained (held without bond), in part because he is a previously convicted felon who had a cache of firearms at his Porter Ranch residence.
“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,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “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 yesterday arrested a second man allegedly involved in the trafficking of counterfeit documents. A man charged in a second criminal complaint under the name Ricardo Gama-Diaz, also known as “Coy,” appeared in federal court yesterday afternoon and said his true name was Ricardo Rios-Gama.
Rios-Gama, 51, who resides in South Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, is charged with producing a false identification document. An affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint alleges that Rios-Gama sold undercover agents counterfeit identification documents – including bogus TWICs, California driver's licenses, Social Security cards and “Green Cards” – on three occasions.
“Transportation Worker Identification Credentials are an important component of our overall port and transportation security system,” said Rear Admiral Joe Servidio, Commander of the Eleventh Coast Guard District. “Taking swift and decisive action sends a strong message deterring future criminal activity.”
Dunmore operated a document mill in Sylmar, according to an affidavit filed in his case. 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. According to the case affidavit, Dunmore himself produced a TWIC card and Mexican identification card for the agents.
A TWIC is a worker identification card issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that allows individuals to access secure areas of the Port of Los Angeles. Those who are issued TWICs undergo a security background check. Because some people are ineligible to obtain a TWIC, due to a lack of immigration status or another reason, 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 CGIS Special Agent in Charge Jon Finnegan. “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.”
In conjunction with Dunmore's arrest, CGIS agents executed a search warrant at his residence and recovered equipment that appeared to be used to create false identifications. The agents also recovered as a small arsenal of weapons and ammunition, including a fully-automatic Tec-9, two AR-15 rifles with over 2,000 rounds of ammunition, and an AK-47. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting with this part of the investigation. At the court hearing on Wednesday, 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.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
At Dunmore's court appearance on Wednesday, a United States Magistrate Judge scheduled a preliminary hearing for February 17 and an arraignment February 23.
At his court hearing yesterday, Rios-Gama was ordered freed on a $10,000 bond, but he will be subject to electronic monitoring. Rios-Gama was ordered back to federal court on February 25 for a preliminary hearing and on March 2 for an arraignment.
If they are convicted of the charges against them, each defendant would face a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service.
Second Man Who Was a ‘Runner' for Another Document Mill also Arrested
USAO – California, Central Updated February 5, 2016
Central District of California DOJ / 16-024 / February 05, 2016