In Virginia, Police Bust Illegal-Document Operation

BY jon frank


VIRGINIA BEACH -- Police believe they have broken up a large counterfeit-document operation that made thousands of phony Social Security cards and resident papers for illegal immigrants in Hampton Roads.

Hundreds of illegal immigrants have received the documents during the past two years in Virginia Beach and other local cities, police said.

The illegal document business primarily served the region's Mexican community, police said, with customers paying $150 for a Social Security card and another identification card that illegally claimed the person was a permanent resident of the United States.

The illegal documents were ordered after contact with customers was made at El Taco Tote, a Beach taco shop that operates on the weekends in the 900 block of Virginia Beach Blvd., police said. Business cards listing in Spanish the illegal services were distributed there.

A search warrant filed Tuesday in Circuit Court says Beach police raided a trailer on lot 257 of the Colony Mobile Home Park at 913 Virginia Beach Blvd. on Friday .

Narcisco Salas, 41, was arrested there Saturday . He is in the Virginia Beach city jail on a $10,000 bond, said Paula Miller, spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office.

Salas is charged with one count each of possession of a fraudulent driver's license, uttering, removing without authorization computer data and programs, and passing obscene material.

Salas' nephew Marco Salas said Tuesday that he and his mother and uncle are U.S. citizens. He said his uncle came to Virginia from Texas two years ago.

The nephew said Salas "has helped a lot of people up here get jobs."

The search warrant states that police were looking for "any and all tax records belonging to Liberty Tax Company" and "all material which furthers the production of fake/false Social Security cards and ID cards."

Police seized $2,150 in cash, as well as cameras, a scanner, a copier and computers.

They also seized "miscellaneous paperwork and documents," according to the search warrant.

Police said they do not know where the documents were made but suspect that a factory in Hampton or Newport News may have produced them.

The investigation is continuing and other arrests are expected, police said.

n\Reach Jon Frank at (757) 222-5122 or .