Two Tucson men were arrested last week after a deputy said he found them in possession of phony identification and an abundance of Home Depot gift cards.
Hector Sandoval, 23, and Ruben Sanchez-Bustamante, 27, were booked into the Pinal County jail July 10 and face charges of identity theft, possession of stolen property, trafficking in stolen property and fraudulent schemes.
They were pulled over for a traffic violation just before 4 p.m. in a 2011 Jeep Wrangler that was westbound on Interstate 10 near milepost 225 south of Picacho, Tim Gaffney, spokes-man for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, said in a news release.
Sandoval was driving and Sanchez-Bustamante was in the passenger seat.
"Both men were extremely nervous when stopped," Gaffney said. "They provided the deputy with conflicting information related to where they were coming from, where they were headed to and who owned the vehicle they were in."
The men allowed the deputy to search their Jeep, and he said he found a dozen Home Depot gift cards, valued at $250 apiece, hidden in a dashboard compartment, and phony Pennsylvania driver's licenses and two fake credit cards hidden in the passenger-side door panel, Gaffney said. The false identification had pictures of the men with different names.
"The investigation revealed that the subjects were part of an organization based out of Mexico that uses fake coded credit cards along with false identifications to purchase gift cards and other items from retail stores in the United States. The items purchased are then trafficked back into Mexico and sold for profit," Gaffney said.
Sandoval was arrested two months ago in California in connection with the use of fraudulent credit cards to purchase thousands of dollars in merchandise, Gaffney said.