Los Angeles: Foothill Area Vice investigators seized over 36,000 pirated DVDs and CDs, cash, and master disks last Saturday afternoon, May 14, 2005. Six members of a family pirating ring were also arrested.
Acting on information from the community, officers investigated reported street sales of counterfeit DVDs and CDs near Mercer and Laurel Canyon Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley. All six of the persons arrested were selling the counterfeit material from cars and shopping carts. Over 2,000 pirated DVDs and CDs were taken off the street, but the investigation did not end there.
The trail led to two more locations, miles away, one in El Sereno, and the other in Highland Park. Officers discovered and confiscated 36,000 pieces of pirated CDs and DVDs, master DVD disks, master picture inserts, packaging material and over $7,100 in cash at the family’s residence, located in the 4800 block of Converse Street.
LAPD officers work closely with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in the enforcement of counterfeiting laws. A representative from the MPAA estimated the street value of the CDs alone was well over $300,000.
"The amount of evidence seized, and the type of evidence, would indicate this family was a significant supplier of counterfeit audio and video merchandise in Los Angeles ," said Lieutenant Paul Vernon, spokesman for the LAPD. "This is not a victimless crime. The victims are the artists, musicians, actors, producers, and even the stagehands whose livelihoods are connected to DVD and CD production. And don’t forget the consumers who buy a DVD off the street only to find it’s blank when they get home."
In addition to the 17-year-old female, whose name was not release, officers arrested Ricardo Sevilla, 55, Francisca Sevilla, 48, Flor Sevilla, 22; Juan Sevilla, 25; and Isabel Zermeno, 48, all of Los Angeles. Each was booked on a felony charge of Failure to Disclose the Origin of Audio Recording Work, Penal Code Section 653 W (A).
Photographs of seized material are available to media outlets from Media Relations, upon request.