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Local businesses warned of counterfeit bills

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The Chaves County Sheriff’s Office is asking area businesses to be on the lookout for any counterfeit currency, after deputies found some during a traffic stop Saturday.

Charles Yslas, chief deputy with the Sheriff’s Office, said businesses should double-check any currency they receive — especially $20s, $50s and $100s — to make sure they are not counterfeit.

“We are asking businesses, if they have any kind of counterfeit bills that have come in through their business, to please contact us,” he said.

The U.S. Treasury Department, which handles investigations into counterfeit currency, will be contacted.

Counterfeit money was reported Saturday evening at about 8 p.m. when a deputy responded to a call from the Dollar General store in the 5000 block of South Main Street, in reference to a possible counterfeit $50 bill, Yslas said.

The deputy, during the course of an investigation, watched a surveillance video that showed a female attempting to use the counterfeit $50 bill to purchase two small items.

Yslas said that a bulletin was issued for a gray older-model vehicle that the woman was seen getting into on the surveillance video.

A short time later, Yslas spotted and then stopped a vehicle matching the description. The deputy who responded to the call at Dollar General then went to the scene and identified the driver of the vehicle as the female in the surveillance video.

More law enforcement then arrived at the scene. Deputies and officers then found one counterfeit $50 bill and three $100 bills, Yslas said.

Yslas added he then advised deputies to stop searching, the vehicle was seized and a search warrant for the vehicle was obtained.

Receipts and items from several businesses that may have been purchased with the counterfeit money were also found in the vehicle.

The name of the female driver was not released because of the nature of the ongoing investigation. Yslas said he doesn’t know what charges will be filed against her, however, some of the charges she could face include fraud and a charge of possession of counterfeit currency.

Counterfeit money is reported occasionally in the area, and is getting harder to recognize. Though it looks like genuine money from a distance, Yslas said there are several features put on authentic currency by the U.S. Federal Reserve that cannot be reproduced, such as the texture of authentic bills and a security strip.

He said most businesses also use a system that helps identify counterfeit currency.

People who think they might have come across counterfeit currency are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 575-624-6500.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.