Riverside County sheriff’s investigators Wednesday were probing deeper into an alleged counterfeiting operation after two men were found with a large stash of bogus bills loaded into a stolen cargo van in Beaumont.

Demetrius Anthony Williams, 35, of Long Beach and Tury Alvarado, 46, of Beaumont are free on their own recognizance as the investigation stemming from the Jan. 28 traffic stop that led to their arrests continues.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Bennett, deputies stopped the pair in the 600 block of American Avenue based on suspicious activity.

A check on the U-Haul cargo van that Williams was driving confirmed it had been reported stolen that week, Bennett said.

“A search of the U-Haul was conducted, and (deputies) located several thousands of dollars of counterfeit $100 bills,” the sergeant said. “Deputies also located scanners, cleaning agents, stolen checks and stolen mail.”

The exact amount of fake bills was not disclosed.

Williams and Alvardo were booked into the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on suspicion of auto theft and possession of controlled substances, respectively, and subsequently released on their own recognizance, according to Bennett.

Because county jails are under a court mandate to reduce COVID-19 exposure risks, some categories of offenders deemed non-violent are not kept behind bars. Both Williams and Alvarado were issued criminal citations with notices to appear before a magistrate at a future date.

Anyone with information related to the investigation was asked to call the sheriff’s Hemet station at 951-791-3400.

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