Violent fake ID ring returns to Richmond

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A dangerous fake document ring operating in Richmond was at it again. The federal government shut it down in 2010, but it started operating all over again.

Mexican crime bosses planted men inside the US to make and sell fake documents.
They were under surveillance, with phone calls secretly recorded.

The gang used intimidation and force to protect its turf. They committed a violent murder. This is also the same group that duct taped a man, put his feet in water, attached him to a car battery, beat him and electrocuted him.

Former US Attorney Neil MacBride told us back in 2012, "We have not seen in Virginia a gang that was this big, this sophisticated, this violent, that would engage in unspeakable acts of violence."

The enterprise was dismantled in 2010 but came back while it's leader, Israel Cruz Millan, was in custody and eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The US Attorney's Office says the operation started running again in early 2012, this time with Manuel Hidalgo Flores at the helm. He is known as "Chino." He oversaw operations in Richmond, Arkansas, Boston, Raleigh, Cincinnati and Rhode Island.

The were selling fake IDs, Social Security Cards, driver's licenses and green cards. According to his guilty plea, they even tried to take out a competitor in Richmond on October 6. Police broke it up before there was violence.

In all, 34 people have now pleaded guilty in this document ring. Hidalgo Flores will be sentenced in July.

Out of the 12 people arrested in this new case, eight are awaiting a jury trial.

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