By Chris Collins
A Las Vegas man who was arrested by an Oregon State trooper during a routine traffic stop on the freeway near Baker City Wednesday afternoon is being held on suspicion of identity theft involving as many as 59 debit cards.
Isney Echavarria-Perez, 31, was arraigned Thursday in Baker County Circuit Court on one count of aggravated identity theft, a Class B felony; and five counts each of identity theft and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, both Class C felonies, said District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff.
OSP Sr. Trooper Jeff Spencer stopped the suspect's car at 1:36 p.m. Wednesday in the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 at Milepost 302 for a speeding violation, according to an OSP press release.
During the stop, Spencer found a fraudulent Nevada driver license in a name other than that provided by the driver and 59 fraudulent credit cards in the trunk of the car. Most of the credit cards listed the same fraudulent name as that on the driver license.
The magnetic strip on the back of the fraudulent cards had been changed to reflect stolen account information from 59 different victims, the press release stated.
Police said the stolen information was then re-coded on the magnetic strip on the back of the fake credit cards.
Once the fake cards are re-coded with the real account information, police said the cards are used to quickly spend as much money as possible before the credit card company suspends the card's use.
Shirtcliff said police also found a device that possibly was used to produce the phony credit cards.
Echavarria-Perez is being held at the Baker County Jail in lieu of $142,500 bail.
Judge Greg Baxter ordered that a hearing be scheduled before the suspect is released on the full bail amount.
The investigation is continuing. OSP is being assisted by the District Attorney's Office, Portland Police Bureau, Las Vegas Metro Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service to identify each victim and the banks involved.