HEBER/OVERGAARD — A man and a woman from Casa Grande, along with a man from San Tan Valley, are facing multiple criminal charges, including passing fake $100 bills in Navajo County.
Darius Bonito, 44, of San Tan Valley, Tyler Martonfi, 26, and Joslyn Stokes, 27, both of Casa Grande, were arrested by Navajo County Sheriff’s Office deputies Monday, Nov. 4, charged with fraudulent schemes and artifices, possession of a forged item, threatening and intimidating and unspecified drug charges.
Bonito was arrested again the following day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, by Show Low Police, charged with trying to pass a phony $100 bill at the Circle K convenience store on Cooley Street in Show Low.
A press release from the NCSO stated that deputies from that agency responded to the Chevron gas station on State Route 260 in Heber Monday, Nov. 4 when employees reported that all three of the suspects were at the business trying to pass phony $100 bills.
Deputies collected the phony bills as evidence and images of Bonito, Stokes and Martonfi to identify them, but not before all three suspects fled the gas station.
NCSO Sheriff David Clouse said in the press release that around 8:30 that night they got a call about people trying to pass fake $100 bills at the Family Dollar store in Overgaard to which deputies responded quickly.
“When the first deputy arrived on scene, one suspect fled from the location on foot and two other suspects fled in a silver colored sedan. A short foot pursuit ensued but the deputy lost the suspect in the darkness. The suspect vehicle that fled crashed through a fence a short distance away with the two other suspects fleeing from the vehicle,” Clouse said.
NCSO deputies along with troopers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety (highway patrol), the U.S. Forest Service and a Department of Corrections K-9 unit saturated the area looking for the three suspects until a tip came in from a resident telling police someone matching one of the suspect descriptions was knocking on their door asking for help.
NCSO deputies who went to the home found and arrested Bonito.
The next day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, just after 8 a.m., deputies found Stokes and Martonfi hiding in the same area and arrested them.
“Both Martonfi and Stokes have arrest warrants issued in other communities outside of Navajo County. During the course of the investigation it was learned the same suspects also committed various crimes in other jurisdictions both within Navajo County and out of Navajo County. These agencies have been contacted,” Clouse said in the press release adding that any business or private citizen who thinks they may have been scammed by the suspects should call the NCSO right away.
“If you believe you or your business may be a victim of receiving counterfeit currency please contact the Navajo County Sheriff’s at 928-524-4050. Sheriff David Clouse would like to thank all the concerned citizens of the Heber/Overgaard area that called in leads and tips on suspect sightings. The cooperative working relationship the citizens have with their Sheriff’s Office aides is keeping all our communities safe,” the NCSO press release said.