MONTE VISTA—On Friday, Aug. 22 at approximately 5:42 p.m., officers from the Monte Vista Police Department were called to San Luis Valley Federal Bank located at 330 Solar Avenue, regarding a possible hazardous material call. Upon arrival, officers discovered that Joseph Michael Gutierrez, 24, of Del Norte was at the bank’s drive-up window attempting to exchange numerous one-dollar bills for larger bills. The one-dollar bills had a strange odor and appeared to have been wet. At least one teller handling the bills reported tingling and numbness in the hands as a result of touching the bills.
The Monte Vista Fire Department and San Luis Valley Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) unit responded to the scene. Presumptive field tests for hazardous materials were negative, but a sample of the bills did test positive for the presence of cocaine.
Gutierrez was booked into the Rio Grande County Jail on several outstanding misdemeanor failure to appear warrants. The investigation into the one-dollar bills is continuing with the assistance of the United States Secret Service out of Denver.
Anyone with information regarding this or any other crime is asked to contact the Monte Vista Police Department at 852-5111 or San Luis Valley Crime Stoppers at 589-4111.For the complete article see the 08-27-2014 issue.
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