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Police find phony money during traffic stops
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A traffic stop Monday morning led to the discovery of more than $7,000 in counterfeit money, two arrests and opened up the possibility that hundreds of phony bills could be circulating at Turlock businesses.

The investigation was set into motion Monday morning when a Turlock police officer pulled over a vehicle in the area of W. Olive Avenue and N. Broadway for a traffic violation. One of the occupants in the vehicle, 29-year-old Jason Joseph Rocha, was on probation for prior convictions of petty theft and resisting a peace officer, and was authorized for search of his person.

Rocha had a small amount of the counterfeit bills in his possession and the rest of the phony money was found bundled up in the passenger side door.

A subsequent search of Rocha’s apartment was conducted and investigators found evidence that the counterfeit bills were being manufactured there, said Turlock Police spokesperson Officer Mayra Lewis.

Arrested for the counterfeit bills and charged with forgery were Rocha and Leanna Hess, 28.

The driver of the vehicle, Angelica Olivares, 24, was charged with driving without a license.

On Saturday a separate traffic stop led to the arrest of 41-year-old Megan Peebles, who was found in possession of several counterfeit $100 bills. Investigators are looking into the possibility the two cases are connected, Lewis said.

Investigators are also following up on leads that some of the counterfeit bills might have been used at Turlock businesses.

Anyone who suspects they might have one of the counterfeit bills or has information about the case is asked to contact Turlock Police Detective Tim Redd.