San Mateo police arrested five suspects this week in connection with a counterfeiting operation.
Officers responded at about 1:20 p.m. Wednesday to a report of suspicious activity in the area of Fourth Avenue and Claremont Street, San Mateo Police Sgt. Dave Norris said.
Two suspects had attempted a "suspicious" transaction involving gift cards at a store in the 500 block of E. Fourth Ave, Norris said.
The two suspects were detained in a gray Merecedes parked nearby, and were arrested after officers learned they had outstanding warrants.
Investigating officers found fraudulent gift cards, evidence of possible identity theft, and more than 10 pounds of marijuana in the suspects’ vehicle, according to Norris.
The two suspects were identified as 55-year-old Willie Lozano and 32-year-old Phong Le, both of San Jose. Further investigation revealed a third suspect was involved, 31-year-old Charles Ryan Angeles, also of San Jose, Norris said.
San Mateo Police Detectives, assisted by investigators from the F.B.I. and the U.S. Secret Service, worked through the night following up on this case based on leads generated by investigation into the seized ID theft and fraud materials, and marijuana.
Detectives ultimately located and arrested Angeles in San Jose, and seized numerous fraudulent credit cards, ID’s, machinery used to manufacture fraudulent credit cards, and weapons including an assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine, according to Norris.
SMPD’s Narcotics Unit, pursuing the marijuana investigation, ultimately located and seized additional drugs and arrested two additional suspects in San Jose for possession of over an ounce of methamphetamine, and firearms violations.
Willie Lozano, a 55-year-old male resident of San Jose – Booked into San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of Identity Theft and Conspiracy
Phong Le, a 32-year old male resident of San Jose – Booked into San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of Transportation and Possession for Sale of Marijuana, and Conspiracy
Charles Ryan Angeles, a 31-year-old male resident of San Jose – Booked into San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of Conspiracy, Identity Theft, Counterfeiting and Use of Fraudulent Access Cards, Counterfeit Identification, Possession of Fraudulent Identification, and Possession of a High Capacity Assault Rifle Magazine
Duy Nguyen, a 32-year-old male resident of San Jose, Booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of Conspiracy, Possession of Methamphetamine for Sale, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon
Thao “Tammy” Nguyen, a 25 year-old female resident of San Jose, Booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of Conspiracy and Possession of Methamphetamine for Sale
SAFETY TIPS from the San Mateo Police Department:
For important information about preventing and dealing with Identity Theft view San Mateo PD’s Blog: http://sanmateopd.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/identity-theft-safety-tips/