ST. GEORGE – Two men, who have been living in St. George and were arrested earlier this month on felony drug charges, are now facing additional felony charges Thursday for identity fraud and forgery.
After the Washington County Drug Task Force served a search warrant on a residence located on the 300 South block of 200 East in St. George, they discovered documents they suspected to be fraudulent or forged and called the Fraudulent Identity and Security Threat, FIST, unit to investigate, according to probable cause statements by the St. George Police Department in support of the arrests.
Investigators found a total of six forms of forged or fraudulent identification documents in 33-year-old Ismael Salvador Arredondo’s possession, the statement said, including U.S. Social Security Cards, U.S. Alien and Permanent Resident Cards, along with other documents showing they were used to gain monetary benefits and services.
“I suspected these documents to be forged or fake and later confirmed the identifying numbers belonged to other actual persons,” Detective Jordan Minnick said.
Arredondo was charged with two second-degree felonies for identity fraud, and four third-degree felonies for possession of a forgery writing device. He was already in custody in the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility for a first-degree felony charge of drug distribution, as well as a class A misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia from his June 9 arrest.
Authorities discovered another man at the residence, identified as 35-year-old Artemio Zermeno-Perez, also in possession of forged and fraudulent documents. After researching the social security number, used by Zermeno-Perez for employment, detectives were able to contact the person it belonged to and verify it didn’t belong to Zermeno-Perez. They also determine the number on the U.S. Permanent Residence Card he used was fake.
Zermeno-Perez was charged with four third-degree felonies for identity fraud and possession of forgery writing device. He was also already in custody at the Correctional Facility after being arrested on June 9 and charged with two third-degree felonies for drug possession and a class B misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Judge G. Michael Westfall, of the 5th District Court, ordered Zermeno-Perez bail for his release pending trial set at $20,000 and Arredondo’s bail set at $30,000 during each of their initial court appearances Friday on the new charges.
Arredondo was found indigent by the court and will be represented by court-appointed attorney Michael Lastowski.
They are both scheduled to make their next court appearance Monday.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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