ELIZABETHTON — Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said a counterfeiting ring was broken up Wednesday night and three arrests were made following the execution of a search warrant at 106 Hidden Cove Lane in the Stoney Creek community.
Mathes said the search uncovered 20 counterfeit $100 bills. Deputies reported that all 20 of the counterfeit bills had the same serial number. They also did not pass the “look and feel” test and did not have the bold and distinct borders, lacked the tiny red and blue fibers embedded in the paper of genuine money and did not display the color-shifting ink in the lower right corner.
The sheriff’s department also reported finding remnants of previous attempts to print counterfeit money at the residence. The search also yielded a color printer, high-quality printing paper, scissors and tape.
Mathes said the search of the printing operation also uncovered 50 blank business checks, believed to be used in an operation that passed fraudulent checks as well as counterfeit currency.
Following the search, the deputies questioned a man and woman found at the residence.
Deputies said Carl Gregory Bishop, 26, 222 Painter Creek Road, Chuckey, confessed to printing counterfeit money prior to the raid. Casey Murphy Blevins, 24, 106 Hidden Cove Lane, told the deputies she was aware of the counterfeiting, but denied any personal involvement.
Bishop was charged with 20 counts of criminal simulation. Blevins was charged with criminal conspiracy to commit criminal simulation.
While conducting surveillance, Bishop was seen in a white 1985 Chevrolet truck. It was believed the truck had been reported stolen out of Buncombe County, N.C. on Monday.
The investigation led deputies to a second residence at 678 Stoney Creek Highway. There, the Chevrolet truck was recovered. The resident said a man known to him only as Carl had brought the truck to him earlier in the day and hired him to instaff a tachometer.
As deputies arrived on the scene, someone driving a second truck, a 1999 GMC, attempted to flee the area. Shortly before midnight, Deputy Harmon Duncan stopped the vehicle on the Stoney Creek Highway at the intersection with Arrow Drive.
A passenger in the truck was identified as Christopher Harold Gibbs, 26, 8041 Highway 19E, Roan Mountain. A records check indicated Gibbs had outstanding warrants in Carter County on failure to appear in court and violation of probation. Officers said Gibbs was also in possession of 59 small green pills in a bottle with no label. The officers said Gibbs identified the pills as Klonopin. He was then charged with possession of a schedule IV drug for resale.
Bishop was also charged with theft over $1,000 in connection with the 1985 pickup truck, which was towed to a holding yard for release to the owner.
Mathes said “the investigation is continuing as the sheriff’s office continues to identify additional counterfeit currency and checks that have been recently passed at local businesses in the area in relation to this investigation.”
Mathes said anyone who believes they may have recently received counterfeit currency should call the sheriff’s office at 542-1894.