DVD ‘pirate’ sentenced for making, selling bootlegs

McALLEN — DVD pirates everywhere beware.

On Monday, a federal judge handed down a five-month prison sentence to a man who made copies of movies and sold them locally.

Roel Aurelio Aguilar Alvarez, a Donna man who pleaded guilty in May 2018 to making bootleg DVDs for resale at a local flea market was sentenced to prison Monday, court records show.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa handed Aguilar Alvarez, 26, a five-month prison sentence in connection with charges of criminal copyright infringement.

Aguilar was arrested in November 2017 after a U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigation revealed the man sold counterfeit reproductions of DVDs without proper authority.

On Nov. 17, 2017, HSI agents searched the residence and found more than 2,000 DVDs “that appeared to be counterfeit reproductions,” as well as “six DVD duplicator disc copier towers, several boxes containing blank DVDs, generic DVD sleeves, and other supplies used in the reproduction of the counterfeit movie DVDs,” the complaint read.

Aguilar, who was at the residence when it was searched, agreed to questioning from authorities, during which he admitted he knew it was illegal to copy movies and sell them.

He told agents he reproduced roughly 400 DVDs a week; selling them at the Don-Wes Flea Market during the week, and on weekends, for about $1 each. Aguilar said he sold roughly $300 worth a day.

“Upon inspecting the DVDs, it was apparent that they were not commercial discs based on their packaging but instead counterfeit movie DVDs,” the complaint read. “The packaging of the DVDs consisted of generic DVD sleeves and the movie titles were handwritten on the DVDs.”

Some of the counterfeit DVD titles included “Cars 3,” “50 Shades Darker,” “All Eyes on Me,” and “American Made,” to name a few, court records show.

Agents estimated the total retail value of a sampling of the seized DVDs was nearly $5,000, according to court records.

In addition to the five-month prison sentence, Hinojosa imposed a two-year supervised release term, to be completed upon release from prison.

Aguilar, who has been free on a $30,000 bond since February 2018, will remain out on bond until Aug. 12, when he is expected to meet with U.S. Marshals to be advised of his surrender date, and where he is going to be housed during his prison term, records show.