Forgery suspect says he bought documents at grocery store

Published 6:03 am Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A 26-year-old man residing in Austin, who claimed he bought someone else’s identifying documents at a local grocery store and used them to get work, was charged with two counts of felony forgery Friday.

Gabino Reyes-Sandoval, who told police he was born in Mexico and entered the U.S. illegally three years ago, appeared on the charges Friday and posted bail. He is scheduled to appear again in court on June 17. A potential deportation would, by law, be handled by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Mower County court, the case started when, on May 31, an officer pulled over a man driving someone else’s car for an unspecififed violation. The man, who is not identified further in the complaint, said he didn’t know who the car belonged to. The man also did not have a driver’s license at the time.

The officer was able to locate a wallet in the car, which contained a Mexican passport in the defendant’s name. The cop also found a Quality Pork Processors work card in the name “Andrew James Canales” in the wallet, as well as Minnesota driver’s license in the same name.

The photos on all of the documents were of the same person, the complaint states. The various IDs were collected as evidence.

A records search revealed that Reyes-Sandoval is wanted in Arcadia, Wisc., on a domestic assault charge. The pulled-over vehicle was also linked to that case, though the complaint does not specify whether Reyes-Sandoval owns the car.

According to those same records, Reyes-Sandoval resides at 604 Seventh Ave. NW in Austin. Police later went to that address but did not locate Reyes-Sandoval, though several people at the home said he did in fact live there, the complaint states.

On Thursday, officers’ task of finding Reyes-Sandoval became a lot easier, as he came into the downtown Law Enforcement Center looking for the wallet recovered a few days earlier. Upon questioning, Reyes-Sandoval admitted that the driver’s license and the passport both belonged to him, and that he had gotten the license after first obtaining a fraudulent birth certificate and Social Security Card. Reyes-Sandoval added that he purchased those latter two documents for $800 from someone he met at the grocery store Tienda y Taqueria Guerrero, 301 Fourth Ave. NE.

Custodio Serrano, who owns the grocery store as well as the nearby El-Parral Ballroom, said Monday over the phone that he and his staff do not facilitate such sales, and he denied having anything to do with Reyes-Sandoval’s case.

“No, no sir,” he said in limited English. “I’ve got my business … I don’t sell (identifying documents).”

Serrano added that he keeps a watchful eye on what happens inside his store, and that he and his staff are all working legally with proper identification.