The Pleasanton Police Department reported uncovering a large-scale ID theft and forgery operation at a home in Pleasanton last month after having assisted the U.S. Marshals Service in arresting the resident -- a wanted fugitive who violated probation for similar charges in the past, according to federal authorities.
On Oct. 24, the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force served an arrest warrant for 41-year-old Chanta Duane Hopkins, who had a federal warrant for supervised release violation, which is more commonly known as probation violation, according to Chris Tamayo, senior inspector for the regional task force.
Tamayo told the Weekly that Hopkins initially had a warrant out for his arrest in December 2021 for allegedly violating conditions of a supervised release from the federal court. Tamayo said the charges from Hopkins' initial arrest in 2017 that put him on supervised release were identity theft, conspiracy to commit fraud, unlawful use of access devices to obtain $1,000 or more and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Tamayo further explained that the regional task force helps with federal court warrants and in this case, had assisted the District of San Francisco's U.S. Marshals' office in serving the warrant for Hopkins.
"Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) initially brought the case to San Francisco and brought it federal. It was listed as dangerous drug charges and fraud," Tamayo said. "Those charges ... looks like they probably were brought to the federal court, adopted and HSI proceeded to prosecute that case with the U.S. Attorney's Office."
Even though Tamayo was not able to confirm what local agency in the Bay Area initially wanted Hopkins arrested, he said Hopkins probably had some local charges that in cases like this, are typically adopted by the federal court, which is what happened in 2017.
"When he was arrested, HSI took on the case and said 'Hey we want to take this federal case because it has some pretty big nexus,'" Tamayo said. "He gets charged, does time in the Bureau of Prisons, gets released to federal probation out of San Francisco and then when he violated (probation) that's why the U.S. Marshals conduct a fugitive investigation to find him."
"Because he now becomes a federal prisoner, anyone in the federal prison system that gets released to probation, and if they abscond or violate the release, that's when the U.S. Marshals will make the arrest," Tamayo added. "Anything from U.S. probation where they need to be arrested -- and in this case, like I said, for him, he violated those conditions -- the U.S. Marshal ends up taking over the fugitive investigation and then we go locate and find them."
When U.S. Marshals officers arrested Hopkins, PPD officers assisting with the arrest had also reportedly discovered a large-scale ID theft and forgery operation that is believed to have affected victims across the Bay Area, which Tamayo said is essentially the same thing Hopkins had been charged with in the past.
PPD officers also discovered two unregistered guns, over a kilogram of cocaine and around $3,000 in cash during the arrest, which has led to a separate PPD investigation, according to police Sgt. Marty Billdt.
"Since this is an ongoing investigation, and we're still sifting through all of the evidence collected, we're unable to provide an estimated or current number of victims," Billdt told the Weekly. "Once the investigation is concluded, our detectives will submit a complaint to the District Attorney."
Tamayo said that Hopkins was booked into Santa Rita Jail on Oct. 24 and is currently still being held there, but added that there are some nuances given that he is technically under the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service but also is being investigated by the PPD.
"Even though he probably is going to have to go through local charges with Pleasanton police based off of all the stuff that they put out, he's remanded to the U.S. Marshals custody," he said.
Basically that means that because he is in the U.S. Marshals' custody, he will have to go through the court system for his supervised release violation first before he goes through the system for any additional charges from PPD.
According to Billdt, Hopkins is still being held in Santa Rita Jail but did not see any bail information or future court dates.
Tamayo said people with supervised release violations don't get to post bail until the courts have enforced an initial appearance, which Hopkins did the day after he was arrested. It was not immediately clear whether Hopkins has yet entered a plea in the federal arrest warrant case.