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Bakersfield Couple Accused of Passing Counterfeit $100 Bills in Solvang

Citizen tip leads Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies to the suspects

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Paul Anthony Gonzales

A married couple from Bakersfield is in the Santa Barbara County Jail after local sheriff’s deputies arrested them on suspicion of passing counterfeit $100 bills in Solvang.

Sheriff’s deputies responded about 2:15 p.m. Monday to a report that a man had attempted to pass a forged $100 bill at a business in the 1600 block of Copenhagen Drive, according to Sheriff’s Department spokesman Drew Sugars.

He said the caller’s description of the suspect assisted deputies in quickly locating and detaining suspect Paul Anthony Gonzales, 35, near the intersection of Alisal Road and Mission Drive. His wife, 28-year-old Mindy Michelle Gonzales, also was detained nearby.

According to investigators, the suspects allegedly had attempted to pass the fraudulent bill at a retailer but left after the clerk determined that the bill was bogus. The couple allegedly passed several forged $100 bills at neighboring businesses, Sugars said.

Mindy Michelle Gonzales
Mindy Michelle Gonzales

A search of the couple’s rental car revealed forged bills, about $2,600 in legitimate U.S. currency, marijuana; methamphetamine, narcotics paraphernalia, prescription medications without a prescription and a stolen Glock .40-caliber automatic pistol.

The couple were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of criminal conspiracy, burglary, counterfeiting and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Paul Gonzales was also booked for possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of a controlled substance, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia and felony gun charges.

His bail was set at $35,000. Bail for Mindy Gonzales was set at $20,000.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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