Heroin, ID info found in motel

Search reveals drugs, evidence of credit and identity fraud, police say.

May 19, 2010|By Veronica Rocha

SOUTH GLENDALE — Four people, including a Glendale man, were arrested Monday night after police allegedly discovered 24 re-encoded credit cards, methamphetamine and heroin in their motel room, officials said.

Artur Kazaryan, 23, of Glendale, Brady Leatherman, 29, of Palm Springs, Jennifer Velasco, 23, of West Hollywood and Jessica Holtz, 32, of Arcadia were taken into custody after police searched their room at Motel Sakura on the 1500 block of East Colorado and found the alleged evidence of an identity theft operation, Glendale Police Det. Jason Ross said.

Police found handwritten documents with social security numbers and bank and credit card information belonging to several people, he said.

“They gathered information from various sources,” Ross said.

The operation was discovered after Special Enforcement officers drove into the motel’s parking lot and stopped Leatherman as he was reaching into a white Lexus, according to police reports. Velasco was standing next to the car.


When police asked the pair if they were staying at the motel, Leatherman told police he did and that Velasco, who was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon, was visiting, according to police reports.

Officers conducted a parole compliance search of the car because some of Velasco’s belongings were inside.

That’s where police found a black wallet with 18 re-encoded credit cards, according to police reports. The pair didn’t say whom the wallet belonged to.

Re-encoding is when identity theft criminals input stolen bank or credit card account numbers on gift or bank cards.

Account information can be stolen when a bank or credit card is scanned into a skimmer, which reads the magnetic strip on the back of the card.

An officer searched the hotel room where Kazaryan was and found drug paraphernalia and black tar heroin inside the toilet, according to police reports.

Police later secured a warrant to search the room.

They also found a credit card skimmer, Kazaryan’s wallet, three re-encoded credit cards, methamphetamine and Leatherman’s room registration document inside the room’s safe, according to police reports.

Kazaryan denied writing text messages regarding selling gift and access cards, according to police reports.

Outside the motel, police saw Holtz who was also staying in the room, according to police reports.

When police searched her car they allegedly found a re-encoded gift card and a piece of paper with account information in her wallet, according to police reports.

Glendale police closely monitor south Glendale because of criminal activity in the area, which is a major thoroughfare to other cities, Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

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