Meridian Police: California couple faces drug, fraud charges

Meridian Police: California couple faces drug, fraud charges
Posted at 2:38 PM, Mar 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-15 16:38:40-04

A California couple has been booked into the Ada County Jail after Meridian Police officers say that found numerous counterfeiting machines, fraudulent gift and debit cards, printed checks, and a fake driver’s license in their motel room.

Officers were called to a motel in the 1000 block of S. Progress Avenue Wednesday after management suspected illegal activity occurring in one of the rooms.

When officers searched the room, “they found a laminating machine, several printers, printed checks, fake identification cards, five stolen Visa cards, and thirteen fraudulent gift and debit cards,” said Meridian Police Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea.

Officers took Rafael Pena, 38, of Riverside, California and Amanda Ahmu, 34, of Fontana, California into custody.

“Mr. Pena also had a fake driver’s license under the alias Pedro Hernandez,” Basterrechea said.

Officers report they also found a small quality of meth in his possession.

Pena now faces felony charges of possessing a counterfeiting apparatus, criminal possession of a financial transaction card, and delivery of a controlled substance. He was also charged with unlawful use of a driver’s license, a misdemeanor.

Ahmu was arrested for possessing a counterfeiting apparatus and delivery of a controlled substance. She also faces a misdemeanor charge of possessing drug paraphernalia.

“Although we believe there are only these two suspects involved, this is a significant case,” Basterrechea said. “The observant motel staff alerted us to the suspicious activity and, as a result, prevented local retailers from being defrauded out of potentially thousands and thousands of dollars.”

It is unknown how long the two had been in Idaho.