A federal grand jury has indicted 10 defendants for distribution of counterfeit DVDs and CDs throughout the Central Valley, including Turlock.
The defendants charged in the indictment are Victor Flores Fuentes, 38; Edgar Hipatl Rodriguez, 25; Angel Gomez, 34; Ramiro Mendes, 34; Efrain Lozada Rosas, 33; Antonio Morales, 31; Enrique Aguilar, 25; and Eric Ivanez, 21, all of San Jose; Jesus Cuevas Lopez, 24, of southern California; and Cornelio Rojas, 50, of Ceres.
The defendants have been charged conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and related crimes, and trafficking in counterfeit labels, documentation and packaging, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, on March 13 a warehouse and office space used by the defendants were found to contain tens of thousands of counterfeit music CDs and movie DVDs. Approximately 75,000 counterfeit music CDs, 60,000 pirated DVDs, and materials and equipment to duplicate, produce and distribute more than 10,000 additional discs were among the items seized during the searches, reports the FBI.
The counterfeit materials included movie titles that were in theatrical release and not yet available for legitimate sale on DVD. The defendants distributed the counterfeit materials for resale in Turlock, Atwater, Modesto, Stockton, and throughout California.
Rojas is in custody and is scheduled to be arraigned in Fresno on March 30. The remaining defendants are in custody in San Jose and are expected to make their initial appearance in court in Fresno in the next few weeks.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and $250,000 fine.
This case is a product of an investigation by the Sacramento Intellectual Property Rights Task Force, composed of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Henry Z. Carbajal III is prosecuting the case.
In February of last year, 10 local residents were arrested after authorities seized an estimated $220,000 in pirated movies and music at the Turlock Flea Market. In all, 20,000 pirated DVDs and 4,000 pirated CDs were seized.