MADERA COUNTY – Raymond Mendoza Chavez, 54, and his wife Gloria Chavez, also 54, sit behind bars facing a multitude of felony charges including 59 counts of counterfeiting, and possession of narcotics.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 26, Sergeant Mark Stritzel and Deputy Luis Padgett were conducting a probation search at the couple’s home located on Avenue 16 south of Chapin Street.
That’s when they discovered literally bucket loads of phony one-dollar, five-dollar and twenty-dollar bills, along with syringes, spoons, marijuana and methamphetamine.
Deputies weren’t expecting to find Raymond Chavez at home when they showed up, since Deputy Padgett had just arrested him at another residence the day before, for vehicle theft.
During that arrest, Chavez had claimed the car in question was his, when in fact it had been reported stolen in Fresno, says the Sheriff’s Office. And the man who reportedly sold it to him, 50-year-old Javier “Harvey” Paz Ornelas, just happened to be at the home as well when deputies arrived. He too was arrested, and both he and Chavez posted bail shortly after being booked into jail.
When Sergeant Stritzel and Deputy Padgett went to the Chavez home yesterday, it was because they had discovered that the name Gloria Chavez (Raymond’s wife) was possibly connected to a fraudulent DMV Release of Liability for that stolen car.
It should be noted that Gloria Chavez is currently on Felony Probation for Forgery, according to the Sheriff’s Office, hence the probation search.
When deputies arrived, Raymond slammed the door on them, was verbally combative and showed obvious signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance, says the Sheriff’s Office. He was eventually taken into custody without further incident, and booked into Madera County Department of Corrections for resisting arrest, possession of a controlled substance, counterfeiting, and committing a felony while out on bail. He is being held without bail.
Gloria Chavez, also known as Gloria Hidalgo, whose criminal history includes both forgery and narcotics, was booked into Madera County Department of Corrections for possession of narcotics and probation violation. She too remains jailed without bail.
It is too soon in the investigation to know how much if any of the counterfeit currency made it to the streets.
In addition to stacks of counterfeit bills found in the Chavez home, deputies also recovered a Hall of Fame All-Star Youth Baseball ring. Deputies need your help in locating the owner. If someone is missing a Hall of Fame All-Star Youth Baseball ring, please contact the Madera County Sheriff’s Office and reference case # 14-0929.
The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is urged to call either the Madera County Sheriff’s Office at 559-675-7770 or Crime Stoppers at 559-498-STOP.