Released by the Palestine Police Department:
On February 22, 2014 Four Louisiana residents, ages 20, 21, ,26, and 29 were arrested in relation to a Counterfeiting Operation, in Palestine, Texas.
Between 0830 and 0840 hours, Officers January, Kerr, and Coats from the Palestine Police Department responded to two different convenience stores on Palestine Avenue, in reference to a suspect attempting to pass a counterfeit $50 bill. In both cases, the subject fled the scene prior to Officers' arrival, leaving in what was reported as a Tan Chevy Impala with no license plate.
After receiving information that the vehicle left Eastbound from the 400 Blk of E. Palestine, Officer Coats and Cpl Kerr observed the occupied suspect vehicle and a previously described suspect in a parking lot in the 1200 block of E. Palestine Ave walking back toward the vehicle. All three suspects were detained at that time for the investigation.
A search of the three suspects and the vehicle resulted in the discovery of counterfeit money. Given the circumstances surrounding the suspects' scheme to pass bills at multiple convenience stores, all three were arrested for Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, a Second Degree Felony.
"It appeared that the suspects attempted to defeat the detector pens by washing out $5 bills and then reprinting them in denominations of $50. Officers advised that the security strip was in place, but did not match the monetary value displayed on the bill", stated Patrol Commander, Lt. Jeff Powell
After receiving information that one of the suspects may have escaped prior to officers contacting the group, Sgt. Johnson began to warn businesses that there still may be a suspect passing counterfeit. At approximately 1400 Hrs, Sgt. Johnson responded to the 500 Block of E. Palestine, where a fourth suspect was observed. Upon attempting to detain the subject, Sgt. Johnson became involved in a short foot pursuit, and physical confrontation with the subject, who after attempting to reach for a weapon was Tazed by the Sergeant. Incident to his arrest, additional counterfeit money was also located on his person. This subject was charged with Evading Arrest/Detention, Resisting Arrest/Search/Transport, Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, and one warrant out of Crowley, LA for Burglary. In total, 18 counterfeit $50 bills were recovered during the initial and secondary investigations.
"The initial officers' investigation, as well as the follow up investigation by the Patrol Sergeant were outstanding", said Powell. "This was definitely a team effort. Between the business representatives calling the offenses in, and the Officers doing a thorough investigation, it went well for us today. Sgt. Johnson's follow-up investigation, by contacting the area businesses and alerting them of the potential for ongoing offenses shows how Community Policing can benefit both law enforcement and the community. I am proud of all involved."
"At least one of the suspects may have ties to a neighboring community in Houston County," Powell said, "and our Detectives are in the process of contacting those law enforcement agencies to ascertain if any counterfeit was passed in their area."
Names are to be released after the suspects are arraigned.