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Document-Forging Ring Raided, 3 Held

November 06, 1994

Hundreds of phony documents were seized and three people were arrested in Canoga Park on Saturday in connection with what authorities said is a major counterfeiting ring that manufactures fake driver's licenses, immigration cards and other official papers.

It was the fifth time in two years that undercover Los Angeles police officers and state investigators busted counterfeiters selling documents in a parking lot at the same intersection on Sherman Way.

The officers followed the suspects from the parking lot to a nearby apartment that served as a "paper mill," where the phony documents were assembled. Investigators confiscated a laminating machine, a typewriter with different daisy wheels, a paper cutter and hundreds of blank birth certificates and other documents from the two-bedroom apartment in the 6900 block of Millwood Avenue.

But investigators said they believe the ringleaders are still at large because the printing press on which the documents were manufactured was not among the equipment seized.

The ring--operating out of Canoga Park because of the high concentration of immigrants--was netting thousands of dollars a week, investigators said.

Investigators identified two suspects but said the men used counterfeit documents to identify themselves. The third suspect was identified as Alonso Yerena, 29, from Mexicali, who told police that he is a naturalized citizen from Mexico whose documents were stolen in Miami. All three were arrested on suspicion of felony forgery and were being held at Van Nuys jail in lieu of $10,000 bail each. If convicted, they could face up to a year in prison.

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