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Authorities bust counterfeit ring operating in Central Valley
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A federal grand jury has indicted 10 men on allegations they were making and selling counterfeit movies and music in the Central Valley, including in Turlock.

The 10 defendants are facing charges of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and related crimes, and trafficking in counterfeit labels, documentation and packaging, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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.

According to court documents, on March 13 warehouse and office space used by the defendants were found to contain tens of thousands of counterfeit music CDs and movie DVDs. 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 CDs and DVDs for resale in Atwater, Modesto, Stockton, Turlock, and throughout California.

Rojas is in custody and is scheduled to be arraigned in Fresno on Monday. 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, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy and trafficking in counterfeit labels charges.

This case is the 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.