KOSCIUSKO — A South Bend woman is facing charges after a fraud investigation led to the discovery of drugs.
Junie Cepeda Ibarra, 48, 1308 Black Oak Drive, South Bend, is being charged with dealing methamphetamine, a level 2 felony; possession of methamphetamine, a level 3 felony; fraud on a financial institution, a level 5 felony; corrupt business influence, a level 5 felony; forgery, a level 6 felony; fraud, a level 6 felony; and identity deception, a level 6 felony.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department began an investigation regarding a female using fraudulent checks to obtain funds. When an officer located the female, she provided information that Ibarra was stealing checks out of mailboxes and manufacturing fraudulent checks and cashing them.
On June 1, KCSD responded to a theft in Kosciusko County. An officer spoke with a female, who advised that her Chase Bank credit card had been used several times without her permission or consent. She advised the card was used on June 1 at Meijer and at a BP station in New Paris on May 31.
On June 1, a Wilby’s employee brought a check written on May 22 in the amount of $49.07 and signed by another female on her Wells Fargo Bank account. The check had been returned as a fictitious check. The subject who used the check presented an Indiana driver’s license for the female whose name was on the check.
Officers spoke with the female whose signature had been on the check. The female advised that her Indiana driver’s license had been stolen from her mailbox and that she did not write or sign any check or cash any check at Wilby’s. Her driver’s license was later found in the wallet of Ibarra.
On June 15, a KCSD officer observed Ibarra driving a white Chevy Impala in the area of Whispering Pines in Kosciusko County. The officer conducted a traffic stop and identified the driver as Ibarra.
A Warsaw Police officer used his K9 to conduct an outer air search of the Chevy Impala, and the K9 made a positive alert. Ibarra advised there was methamphetamine inside the vehicle.
Officers searched the vehicle and found two plastic bags containing a white crystal-like substance that field-tested positive for methamphetamine and weighed 40 grams. Officers also found a glass smoking device with residue, numerous checks for multiple individuals, digital scales, empty plastic bags, numerous receipts from different stores, $637 in cash, gift cards, a computer, printer, digital card reader, check start kit, money orders, five cellular phones, two USB hard drives and two Michigan driver’s licenses that did not belong to Ibarra.
Ibarra admitted she was receiving methamphetamine from California and dealing it. She stated she deals approximately 4 ounces of methamphetamine per week. She admitted to stealing mail from mailboxes to obtain driver’s licenses and check information. She would then manufacture fraudulent checks using the victim’s bank information and then cash the checks to obtain funds.
Ibarra admitted to conspiring with another female and a male to steal checks and manufacture fraudulent checks to obtain funds. She admitted to stealing checks and manufacturing fraudulent checks throughout Indiana and Southern Michigan to support her drug and gambling addictions. She advised she has been involved in stealing mail and manufacturing checks to obtain funds since December of 2017.
Ibarra stated she is from California and that she is planning to return to California when she bonds out of jail. Ibarra was booked in the Kosciusko County Jail Friday, June 15, on a $14,250 surety and cash bond.