California: Four Suspected in Riverside County Fraud Ring: Counterfeit IDs, Passports, Military Personnel Cards Found

In a significant operation led by deputies from the Riverside County Hemet Sheriff’s Station on Saturday, February 24, 2024, four suspects were apprehended in connection with a sophisticated fraud and narcotics network. The operation, which unfolded in the 34000 block of Lyn Avenue in Hemet, unveiled a complex web of criminal activity involving check fraud, counterfeiting, and identity theft.

The primary suspect, 35-year-old Steven Burroughs of Hemet, was taken into custody along with three accomplices: 32-year-old Kayley Lopez from Colton, 44-year-old Charles Smith from Hemet, and 37-year-old Hector Mendez, also from Hemet. The coordinated search of the residence yielded a treasure trove of incriminating evidence, including counterfeit identifications, checks, and counterfeiting equipment. Shockingly, among the seized items were counterfeit state and federal military identification cards, underscoring the sophisticated nature of the operation.

Further investigation revealed the suspects’ involvement in unauthorized mailbox access, with stolen mail, keys, passports, and credit cards among the confiscated items. Additionally, narcotics-related offenses came to light as deputies discovered methamphetamine, psilocybin mushrooms, and fentanyl pills during the operation.

Steven Burroughs, Kayley Lopez, Charles Smith, and Hector Mendez were promptly taken into custody and booked at the Cois Byrd Detention Center, where they face multiple felony charges related to fraud and narcotics offenses.

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The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office continues to treat this as an ongoing investigation, with further details expected to emerge as the case progresses. This operation underscores law enforcement’s commitment to combating complex criminal networks that threaten the safety and security of communities in Riverside County and beyond.

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