The arrest in March of a man on suspicion of credit card fraud led investigators to uncover a fraud ring operating in the Tucson area.
This week five more men allegedly connected to the ring were arrested, Tucson police said.
Said Camacho-Estrella, 18, was arrested March 8 while trying to use a fraudulent credit card and fake identification at stores in the Tucson Mall. He was booked into the Pima County jail on two counts of forgery, Sgt. Pete Dugan, spokesman for the Tucson Police Department, said in a news release.
His arrest led to an investigation by the Tucson Financial Task Force, which includes the Tucson Police Department, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Service and South Tucson Police Department.
Since March, investigators had tracked additional fraud suspects to two locations: the Red Roof Inn in the 4900 block of West Ina Road just west of Interstate 10 in Marana; and an apartment in the 1900 block of West River Road east of North La Cholla Boulevard.
They also followed the suspects to several stores and storage units throughout the Tucson area.
Investigators obtained search warrants for all of the locations and found several hundred credit cards as well as tools and machines for manufacturing and altering credit cards. They also found digital media devices, such as thumb drives, that contained hundreds of names with victims’ credit card information.
Numerous boxes of new, unopened merchandise also were found, including tools, video-game machines, flat-screen televisions and iPads that are believed to have been purchased with the fraudulent credit cards, Dugan said.
On Tuesday, four more suspects were arrested. Kevin Hernandez, 22; Marco Camacho-Estrella, 25; Sergio Camacho-Estrella, 23; and Efrain Rascone, 23, all face charges of fraudulent schemes and artifices and possession of a scanning device or encoder.
Esteban Hernandez, 19, was arrested Wednesday and faces two counts of forgery and one count each of fraudulent schemes and artifices and possession of marijuana on school grounds.
The investigation is ongoing. Additional charges are pending against all six suspects.
“It does not appear that the victims in this case are Tucson specific,” Dugan said. “The names on the credit cards were gained by hackers who breach databases from different businesses around the world.”
Dugan advises debit- and credit-card holders to continually monitor their statements and immediately report unauthorized activity to the card company.
Anyone with information about the fraud case is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME.