Faux dough: officers dismantle apparent counterfeiting operation


Armed with information from concerned citizens and a narcotics search warrant, officers with the Orange Police Department (OPD), Orange County Sheriff's Office, West Orange Police Department and Bridge City Police Department effectively dismantled an apparent counterfeit currency manufacturing operation and confiscated a large amount of methamphetamine at a residence in the 100 block of Amaryllis Street in Orange on Oct. 21, OPD Lt. Jason T. Ashworth reports.

In a news release from OPD, Ashworth revealed six people were arrested for various charges after investigators allegedly discovered counterfeit currency, counterfeiting equipment and just over an ounce of methamphetamine at the Amaryllis Street abode. Chris Drucker, 36, was arrested for forgery and possession of a controlled substance. Officers also arrested 45-year-old William Grubbs, 43-year-old Chad Morse and 31-year-old Jerod Atkins, all for possession of a controlled substance. Andrea Lipchak, 41, and Johnathan Cole, 44, were arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. All six are Orange County residents, and all were transported to the Orange County Jail after their arrests Oct. 21. 

Drucker, then 35, was previously arrested on forgery charges May 25 when officers reportedly discovered evidence of counterfeiting at his Amaryllis Street residence during the execution of a separate search warrant. According to information released at the time, tips from the citizenry led officers who were working to stem the recent surge of phony currency circulating in Orange County straight to Drucker.

“The Orange Police Department wishes to thank the citizens of Orange County for their tips and cooperation that resulted in information that lead to this arrest,” OPD Capt. Robert Enmon said in May. 

After searching Drucker's residence in May, officers located evidence they said indicated a counterfeiting operating had been going on for some time there and arrested him. Forgery charges are still pending against him in Orange County for the first arrest. 

Following his second arrest, Enmon said it looked like Drucker had gone back at his old tricks. 

According to Enmon, "Some (counterfeit currency) appeared like it was made just prior to officers' executing the warrant."

Enmon warned that a number of bogus bills were discovered at local convenience stores in Pinehurst, West Orange and other parts of Orange County, and some of the faux dough could still be in circulation, he cautioned. He said to look for $5, $10 and $20 denominations of currency with the following serial numbers:

$5 bills - JF38951484A and MF57287701A;

$10 bills - ML17724971B;

$20 bills - JC55564399C.

If you find any bills with those serial numbers or come across any fake cash, call your local law enforcement entity. To reach the Orange Police Department, call (409) 883-1026.