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News Release

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Media Relations

Counterfeit Bus Pass Suspect Arrested


Los Angeles: Towards the later part of 2001, the Los Angeles Police Department, Revenue Protection Detail (RPD), determined that there was a flood of counterfeit bus passes within the Los Angeles County transit system. In an attempt to apprehend the responsible parties, the RPD began to focus their attention on Pedro Sotelo, a known and convicted fare media (bus pass) counterfeiter, who was recently released from state prison. Sotelo had been arrested in January of the year 2000 for counterfeiting bus passes and sentenced to 16 months in state prison.

Beginning in April 2002, the RPD began a surveillance of a possible address of Sotelo. After a week, the RPD observed Sotelo leave the residence and they initiated moving surveillance. Ultimately, Sotelo was seen engaging in actions, which were consistent with an individual involved in the counterfeiting of bus passes. Both of the locations were searched pursuant to Sotelo’s parole status, which yielded a large amount of counterfeiting material.

Sotelo’s arrest was the culmination of a two-month long investigation. Evidence was seized at the scene, which indicate that Sotelo was counterfeiting approximately 3000 semi-monthly passes per month since the month of September 2001. This is an estimated revenue loss of $63,000 to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Sotelo could be sentenced to three years in state prison if convicted.

For further information contact Detective Steven Reyes, Transit Services Section, 213-922-3609.

This press release prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.