07/20/08 — Suspects nabbed in counterfeit scam

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Suspects nabbed in counterfeit scam

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on July 20, 2008 1:25 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- When faded $5 bills printed up to pass off as $100s showed up in Mount Olive on Monday, a detective said police had "people of interest."

On Friday, at least two suspects had been arrested with the aid of the Secret Service, which has "exclusive jurisdiction" in matters of counterfeit U.S. cash denominations.

Authorities including Mount Olive police, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and the Secret Service conducted a search of 111 Ridgefield Drive in Dudley early on Friday.

The residence is the home of Angelica Sulon Usher, 21, where authorities seized real cash, counterfeit notes, printers, a gun and other items, Mount Olive police Chief Ralph Schroeder said. Ms. Usher was jailed under $75,000 bond, police said.

Also charged was Travis Thomas, 40, of North Duffie Road in Red Springs.

Authorities familiar with the matter said Thomas and Ms. Usher were business partners in an illegal trade.

Ms. Usher was "born and raised" in Wayne County, he said.

The police chief said two officers, Detective C.J. Weaver and Capt. Tommy Brown, played a large role in investigating Ms. Usher and Thomas.

"They (Brown and Weaver) started getting a lot of information in the last couple of days," Schroeder said. "They were able to make the arrest earlier this morning (Friday)."

Mount Olive police had worked with the Secret Service before, Schroeder said, just a few months prior as Mount Olive police began seizing a number of phony $20s.

Weaver and Brown contacted the agency again after being alerted to a possible counterfeit operation, the police chief said.

Schroeder said the investigation was aided by citizen tips, along with evidence gathered by cameras.

"We had been reviewing video for the last couple of days, and some of that (video evidence) led to it," he said.

The police chief said he did not want to provide further detail about the investigation.

Schroeder noted Brown and Weaver worked 26 hours straight in the final hours of the investigation.

He also said the investigation is not closed.

"There's possibly going to be some more arrests made," Schroeder said.