Photo: Jennifer Howard, Lauren Freeman, Jordyn Naona
Santa Barbara County – A deputy stopped a car for speeding and ended up making three counterfeiting busts.
Why would anyone drive around attracting attention to their criminal activity by violating the rules of the road?
That’s exactly what happened on the morning of June 19th in Buellton. A cop spotted a car exceeding the speed limit on a local roadway.
A routine traffic stop ensued which soon became anything but routine. 30-year-old Long Beach resident Jennifer Howard compounded her driving error by providing “false information” to the cop.
Howard quickly found herself in handcuffs “for providing false information and false impersonation.” In addition she drove under a suspended license and had two outstanding felony counterfeiting and forgery warrants for her arrest.
The arresting deputy, whose suspicions were by now on full alert, searched Howard’s car. He discovered “a case containing methamphetamine, a stack of washed genuine U.S. currency, partially forged, and fully forged $100 bills.” In addition, the car contained equipment used to produce counterfeit currency.
Howard’s charges are forgery, counterfeiting, false impersonation, drug possession, and driving on a suspended license.
The investigation that followed indicated that Howard was enroute to a Thousand Oaks hotel at the time of her arrest. SBSD deputies then notified the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. Next, VCSD deputies reported to the hotel and made contact with 31-year-old Santa Ana resident Lauren Freeman.
Freeman, who was on probation, possessed additional counterfeit currency. Also, she had a computer and printing equipment believed to be used in the production of bogus bills. Freeman and 35-year-old Dana Point resident Jordyn Naona, suspected of being an accomplice in the counterfeiting operation.
Freeman and Naona’s charges are forgery and counterfeiting.