Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Two jailed in connection with counterfeit money

By Julie Finley

The Natchez Democrat

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NATCHEZ &045;&045; Two Wednesday arrests may lead to the end of a counterfeit money operation based in Adams County, authorities say.

Wednesday the Adams County Sheriff’s office arrested Alonzo McGowan, 21, of 5 Bud Scott Lane, on misdemeanor possession of marijuana charges and Lee Edgar Davis, 20, on charges of carrying a concealed weapon with a defaced serial number.

Metro Narcotics agents and Mississippi Department of Corrections probation officers responded to a tip from an informant around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. In the house where they found McGowan and Davis they recovered a small amount of marijuana, $505 in counterfeit money, a Gateway computer, a scanner and computer software.

The sheriff’s office and the Natchez Police Department have received several counterfeit money reports in the last few months. The ACSO recently sent $330 in counterfeit money to the Secret Service for investigation, Sheriff Ronny Brown said. The money found in Wednesday’s arrests matches that money, he said. &uot;There’s a pretty good operation going on,&uot; he said.

As a result of the most recent find the Secret Service will come to Adams County Monday to work with the ACSO and NPD on the case.

Brown said any law enforcement agency was required to contact the Secret Service when they find counterfeit money.

Police Chief Mike Mullins said his office had received at least five counterfeit bills in the last few months. &uot;We hope that with these arrests we can get to the bottom of this,&uot; Mullins said. &uot;It’s an important case and we are doing our best to locate everyone involved.&uot;

Mullins said counterfeit money is usually turned into authorities after the business accepts it and realizes it is not real. The money seized Wednesday included counterfeit $5, $10 and $100 bills.

Brown said this was the first time he’d seen counterfeit fives and tens, saying the most common bills are 20s and 100s.

McGowan is being held in the Adams County jail on a probation hold for possession of marijuana from 2003.