Victor Alfonso Macias, 20, of Marietta and Sergio Santana, 22, of Duluth were arrested Wednesday on charges of possessing fake IDs and obstruction.
Macias was arrested at the Cedar Mobile Home Park in Marietta by Cobb County Police, and Santana was arrested in Duluth by Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents.
According to the warrants, Santana and Macias, who are cousins, are accused of making and selling the IDs at an apartment off Ledford Street in Smyrna. Agents with the Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with Cobb Police officers, discovered the fake documents and manufacturing equipment at Santana’s apartment on Feb. 7.
One agent recognized Macias from pictures he saw on a USB drive during the execution of another search warrant in Douglasville, and Santana’s name was on the mail for ID manufacturing materials, the warrant states. The pair was charged with obstruction because they ran from police while they were attempting to make an arrest.
Santana was released on a $10,000 bond Friday morning, and Macias remains in the Cobb County Jail on a $10,000 bond.
Vincent Picard, a spokesman with ICE, said Santana and Macias are part of a larger organization.
“We are expecting to indict a number of people federally as part of this case in the near future,” he said. He will not be able to release more information until after the individuals are indicted.
John Sours with the Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection said he could not release any more information about the case because the investigation is ongoing.
He did say that he is pleased with the combined efforts of local, state and federal agents resulting in the two arrests. But those in control of the larger organization remain at large.
“We intend to pursue this, and I’m sure our partners do as well, wherever it may lead,” Sours said. He said ID theft is an ongoing problem, not only in Cobb and Georgia, but nationwide.
“Given the size and location of Cobb County and the amount of commercial activity there, bisected by interstate highways, all those factors combined make that county one of the focal points for that kind of activity,” he said.
“Almost anybody can be the victim or attempted victim of identity theft, but there are things we can do to reduce the chances that we are going to be victims.”
Sours recommend the following ways to best safeguard against ID theft:
• Never give out personal or financial information to someone who calls or contacts you
• Keep your Social Security Number confidential
• Never allow mail to pile up in the mailbox; empty it every day if you can
• Get your name and mailing information off credit card and other unnecessary mailing lists
• Avoid sending sensitive information by email
• Check credit reports that are allowed under Georgia and federal laws with three major credit agencies.
“These are things everybody should be doing,” he said. “(Identity theft) is an endemic problem that affects old, young, poor and rich.”
For more information on ID theft, visit the Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection online at consumer.ga.gov or the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov.