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3 Mantecans charged with credit card counterfeiting out of Ripon motel room

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POSTED August 27, 2012 8:41 p.m.

RIPON - Three Mantecans – two women and a man – have been arrested by Ripon Police for allegedly operating a credit card fraud ring in a motel alongside the northbound lanes of Highway 99.

Detective Gordon West was credited with finding the fraudulent credit card operation at the motel on Parallel Avenue.

Brandon Michael Villanueva, 41, Barbara Diane Fernandes, 42, and Megan Michelle Alvarado, 22, were all booked into the San Joaquin County Jail Friday on similar charges of conspiracy, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia and possession of counterfeit credit cards.

Villanueva and Fernandes were both charged with the manufacturing of the counterfeit cards in the motel room where officers allegedly recovered covered multiple printers, a fax machine, and a computer along with lists of credit card numbers.  Some of the cards confiscated in the room reportedly had the suspects’ names already printed on them.

Along with a two-year-old child,  methamphetamine and marijuana paraphernalia were also reported to have been found in the room.

Ripon First Sergeant Steve Merchant said that the child was released to Child Protective Services because the drug paraphernalia had been located near the toddler.

Detective Sergeant Teri Jensen stressed that the Ripon Police Department will continue to be on the offensive against crime in the area motels through increased motel interdiction efforts.

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