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Counterfeit bills result in 3 raids and 14 arrests

Sheriff’s deputies arrested 14 people at three locations on Friday during a sweep targeting a suspected counterfeit money lab.

Two people, Lisa R. Hulford, 47, and Drew Roberts, 50, were arrested on suspicion of possessing counterfeit bills and running a counterfeit lab at a home on the 700 block of Vipond Drive, said Del Norte County sheriff’s Commander Bill Steven.

In addition to recovering “multiple” counterfeit bills, deputies found paraphernalia consistent with maintaining a counterfeit lab, Steven said. But, he said, he couldn’t release what exactly had been found because deputies were still investigating the case.

One other person was arrested at the Vipond Drive location on suspicion of felony possession of a firearm, Steven said.

Deputies arrested six people earlier on Friday with outstanding arrest warrants and on drug charges at the 1800 block of Blackwell Extension Lane, Steven said. Deputies were at a third location at the 1000 block of Keller Avenue at about 5:30 p.m. Friday and were taking five more people into custody on drug-related charges, he said.

The names of the people arrested Friday on suspicion of offenses other than counterfeiting were not available.

“It appears there is no water or power at that location, but five people are living here,” Steven said, adding that authorities were finding marijuana and prescription pills at the Keller Avenue home. “All five at the very least are going to go for possession of drugs. It’s a known drug house.”

Counterfeit bills with denominations as high as $100 have turned up at Lucky 7 and Elk Valley casinos and the McDonalds restaurant in Crescent City, according to sheriffs logs. Counterfeit money has turned up at local gas stations, Steven said, and at businesses in Curry County as well.

“We’ve seen a rash of them in the last week,” Steven said. “So we have an investigation ongoing to try and get to the bottom of it.”

Del Norte sheriff’s detectives are communicating with Curry County authorities regarding the counterfeit money, Steven said.

Businesses should examine cash they receive from customers more closely at the time of transaction, Steven said. Many don’t find out they have received counterfeit bills until they go through their cash registers at the end of the day, he said. Some aren’t aware they received counterfeit cash until their bank notifies them, Steven added.

There are several ways to spot a counterfeit bill, Steven said, including looking for the security strip and the water mark. More information can be found at www.secretservice.gov/know_your_money.shtml.

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