Junction cops bust counterfeiters | AspenTimes.com

Junction cops bust counterfeiters

Marija B. Vader
Grand Junction correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION ” A tip from an observant Grand Junction innkeeper led to the arrest Tuesday of four people on suspicion of counterfeiting $100 bills.

Three men from California and one woman from Rangely, Colo. were apprehended at the Two Rivers Inn in Grand Junction after the motel manager allegedly discovered fake $100 bills in their room, police said.

Police arrested Nathan A. Bothwell, 29, of Oceanside, Calif.; Robert P. Blake, 29, of Carlsbad, Calif.; Aaron M. Mendez, 23, of Vista, Calif.; and Katy L. Christian, 21, of Rangely. They were booked into the Mesa County Jail.

The four are accused of “washing” lower denomination bills to create $100 bills.

At least one local business, Herberger’s in the Mesa Mall, received at least one of the fake bills, according to the arrest affidavit. Other mall businesses, JC Penney and Journey, reported receiving fake $100 bills that day, too, the affidavit said. Police are seeking other possible victims of the counterfeiting operation.

Because the foursome may have passed fake bills in multiple western states, police have contacted federal authorities, who are actively participating in the investigation, said Police Spokeswoman Linda Bowman.

“It is going federal,” Bowman said. “They think those bills were passed along state lines.”

Bowman credited the manager of Two Rivers Inn for the arrests. The manager entered the room Tuesday at about 6 p.m. because he thought the occupants had already checked out, Bowman said.

After the manager noticed what appeared to be a money-making scheme, he called police.

Police observed several containers containing a chemical with what appeared to be U.S. currency floating in it, according to the arrest affidavit. The paper currency appeared to be faded and the liquid was green, the affidavit said. There were also several printers and razor blade, believed to be used for cutting paper, the affidavit said.

While police investigated the room, the occupants returned and were arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, theft (of between $500 and $15,000), first-degree forgery and possession of a forgery device.

Bothwell also was charged with criminal impersonation after giving officers a false name. Christian also was charged with driving with an expired license.

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