Pedro Gonzalez is led from his East Carbon home.
Patricia Gonzalez is escorted by ECC police officer Kelsey Shumway.
Six Carbon County residents are facing state charges following a forgery and counterfeit money investigation which came to a head early Tuesday. While the case originated in East Carbon, evidence was located as far away as Iowa, bringing the U.S. Secret Service into what began as largely local investigation.
According to East Carbon Police Sgt. Phillip Holt, officials began rounding up suspects on Monday night when a chance traffic stop put investigators next to their alleged lead suspect.
Holt confirmed that Dwayne Duncan, 28, of East Carbon had been taken into custody under a forgery warrant late Monday night near Sunnyside Park.
"We already had signed warrants from the court and decided to make an arrest when we came in contact with Mr. Duncan," he explained. "We held off on the other suspects until Tuesday morning."
At about 7 a.m., the law enforcement team simultaneously served additional forgery warrants on Pedro Gonzalez, 57, Patricia Gonzalez, 55, and Leonard Carrillo, 53, all of East Carbon.
The case's last two suspects, Robbie Allen, 46, and Sherri Allen, 42, left East Carbon recently and reportedly had taken up residence at the Pillow Talk Motel in Wellington. They were apprehended Tuesday afternoon by Wellington police and Utah Highway Patrol troopers near their motel.
"The key part of this investigation was the manner in which all of these different departments came together to make a solid case," said Holt.
According to East Carbon Officer Shawn Sackett, his investigation originated in East Carbon when a local merchant reported a "suspicious" $20 bill which had been passed only moments before.
"It was pretty obvious that the bill she had been given was a forgery," explained the officer. "We could see it was phony but we had real bills to compare it against. You could see where a person who was handed the bill might just stick it in their pocket and not notice its flaws."
The case's large degree of inter-agency cooperation began by chance when Price City Detective Robb Radley heard Sackett's radio chatter.
"He already had several bills with serial numbers matching what I had just taken into evidence," explained Sackett. "He came to East Carbon immediately and we began our joint investigation."
Sackett continued to explain that every bill associated with the case apparently holds the same serial number, making all evidence associated with this case easy to bring together.
According to Sackett, several of the case's chief suspects were questioned during the first day of investigation in late December 2011, as several items including computers were seized and held as evidence.
"From beginning we knew the Secret Service was going to be involved and in fact we were on the phone with them from that first day forward," explained Sackett. "I would say we conducted nearly 80 percent of our investigation in the first 24 hours."
Evidence was forwarded from both East Carbon and Price to federal authorities where the materials were collated and prepared for the Carbon County Attorney's Office over the first eight months of 2012.
"Detective Radley called us here in East Carbon once the warrants had been issued and we began to locate our suspects, preparing to take them all at once," said Sackett. "We knew that once we made the arrests that our interviews would become an important part of the investigation."
Radley, who headed the investigation in Price, also spoke to the importance of Tuesday's post arrest interviews.
"The information we obtained yesterday will now be forwarded to our County DA for consideration of further charges," he explained. "In the end, cases will be coming forward from East Carbon, Price and Wellington. I will clear several cases here based on interview material."
Radley confirmed the widespread nature of this case as the alleged counterfeit bills made their way from Carbon County through several other Utah locations as well as other western U.S. States and Iowa.
While the Secret Service did collate the case, there are no plans for a federal indictment at this time. Additional information from the county attorney will be made available after the suspects' arraignment.