Early Thursday morning 64 local, county and federal law enforcement officers served 12 search warrants at locations throughout the Bay Area in relation to a counterfeiting ring that may be responsible for the theft of $6 million.
The warrants were the result of a two-year, joint investigation between the Berkeley Police Department and the Homeland Security U.S. Secret Service. According to Berkeley Police spokesman Mary Kusmiss, investigators seized thousands of pieces of evidence such as pistols, assault rifles, narcotics and a large quantity of counterfeit travelers checks and personal checks.
“Investigators also seized a great deal of personal information such as names, birth dates, social security numbers and credit card numbers,” Kusmiss said. “These were the things this particular ring used to carry out identity theft.”
Kusmiss said two suspects, a 45-year-old Vallejo man and a 49-year-old Berkeley woman, were booked into the Berkeley jail as a result of the warrants. She said the primary goal of the warrants was to collect evidence, which will likely result in many more arrests in the coming weeks.
Other agencies that participated in serving the warrants were the Internal Revenue Service, Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, and the Oakland, San Leandro and Hayward police departments.
“Investigators are very pleased with the evidence they seized today,” Kusmiss said. “Identity theft is the fastest growing crime internationally and these investigations require a great deal of tedious work, a great deal of time and document analysis.”