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ADOT facial recognition finds fugitive

Licence pictures found man with warrant from 2001
Posted at 4:54 PM, Jun 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-26 21:44:29-04

TUCSON, Ariz. -  A modern crime fighting tool helped law enforcement track down a man in the Tucson area who the FBI's been looking for for almost 20 years.

In this case detectives from the Arizona Department of Transportation made the arrest because a picture on a driver's license was a key clue.

“The picture on your license does more than just unlock your ability to drive.  It is a powerful key to your identity; and did you know that ADOT has computers and human detectives sifting through all those pictures looking for criminals?"
The FBI says Sandro Tentory was a gang member with a history of weapons violations, drug dealing, and violence.
There's been a Chicago arrest warrant on him for almost 20 years.
But a system at the Arizona Department of Transportation just tracked him down in Sahuarita.
The system uses facial recognition to compare ID photos.  ADOT says it found Tentory's face on several fake Arizona IDs.    
The system can make a match even if one picture has facial hair and the other doesn't, or if many years separate one picture from the other. ADOT detectives make the final call on whether pictures do match.

Ryan Harding of ADOT says the facial recognition helps keep criminals from using, and abusing your identity.

"They'll maintain these IDs and they will apply for loans or credit cards or other things using these fraudulent IDs."   

But having your face in a government database base makes some people uncomfortable.   ADOT does talk about how the system helps catch criminals, but citizens like Ron Redmon says he'd like ADOT to make it more clear computers and detectives may be scanning your license photo.

He says, "In that sense I'm negative about it.  On the other hand I'm all for law enforcement being able to use whatever tools are available to catch criminals."

Some people are surprised to learn ADOT has its own detectives.  Besides fighting identity theft, they investigate fraudulent vehicle registrations and help other law enforcement with crime like car theft.