Counterfeiters tracked to Solvang stores

SOLVANG — An at-large parolee was found in possession of counterfeit hundreds last Monday while attempting to pass the fake cash at multiple Solvang area retail businesses.

Bryan Pelaez, 33, was wanted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on an at-large warrant when Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies tracked him and an alleged accomplice to Solvang, some 30 miles north of Santa Barbara.

Deputies were dispatched just after 1 p.m. Dec. 6 to downtown Solvang pursuant to reports that Pelaez was attempting to pass fake $100 bills at various retailers. Deputies located Pelaez and detained him as he was attempting to exit a Solvang store.

A search of his wallet and vehicle revealed substantial amounts of the fake bank notes and counterfeiting equipment in his possession. Deputies then conducted a search of his motel room where Alexandra Cleveland, 25, was located and found to be in possession of materials, supplies and equipment used in counterfeiting.

Pelaez was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on a no-bail parolee hold; Cleveland was booked on multiple felony counterfeiting charges, felony possession of brass knuckles, and misdemeanor charges of being under the influence of a controlled substance. Cleveland is currently being held on $20,000 bail.


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