WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Officials with the Wilmington Police Department say they've shut down a multi-state counterfeiting ring following the arrest of two brothers.
According to police, officers responded to the Speedway Convenience Store on 2395 Carolina Beach Road on Monday where the suspects — Shawn Buzbee, 46, and Sabe Buzbee, 37, both of Wilmington — allegedly tried to pay for their gas with a fake $100 bill.
As officers investigated the men, they found more counterfeit bills in their vehicle, according to police.
Detectives secured search warrants for the Buzbees' residence on Calhoun Drive and found what they described as a "complete counterfeiting operation" including printers, ink removal agents, drying implements, cutting boards, paper cutters, and more.
The WPD said it doesn't believe this is the only time the brothers tried to pass fake bills in the area.
"We have at least two more incidents that we have verified already," said Corporal Brandon Reece of the Wilmington Police Department. "We do expect more with the time frame that we are talking when one of the suspects arrived in the area."
The pattern note found at their home shares a serial number identified by the US Secret Service in approximately 28 fraud cases involving fake $100 bills used in Florida and North Carolina.
Three of the fake bills are connected to more than 50 incidents from Florida to North Carolina.
Detectives also found 188 grams of marijuana, Xanax bars, crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and $441 in cash.
"It's good police work that got us to this point," said Reece. "It's veteran patrol officers that used their training and experience to get us into that vehicle and get that currency seized and notify the right people to handle the investigation."
Both men were charged with:
- Attempting to obtain property by false pretense
- Utter forged endorsement
- Forgery of instrument
- Possession with intent to manufacture/sell/deliver schedule VI controlled substance
- Maintain vehicle/dwelling for a controlled substance
- Possession of schedule IV controlled substance
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
Shawn Buzbee, who investigators say has a history of counterfeiting, was booked in jail under a $100,000 bond. Sabe Buzbee was given a $40,000 bond.