Two arrested in suspected counterfeiting operation

Investigation began when bogus money turned up at Elizabeth store

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Two men have been detained in connection with a counterfeiting operation, the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office announced.

The sheriff's office began an investigation into counterfeit money on Oct. 24 after responding to the Murphy's Express gas station located at 2336 Legacy Circle in Elizabeth. Responding deputies were able to obtain suspect information as well as information on a vehicle.

On Nov. 10, the sheriff’s office received additional information into the counterfeit money operation and on the morning of Nov. 11, a search warrant was executed at the home at 2395 County Road 142 in Elizabeth by members of the Elbert County SWAT team. At that time, two men were detained and taken to the Elbert County Sheriff's Office pending further investigation.

Sheriff’s investigators conducted a thorough search of the residence and located thousands of dollars in suspected counterfeit money, numerous pieces of counterfeiting equipment, and numerous guns including a defaced firearm and short barrel rifle, a press release said.

The vehicle used in the original incident at Murphy's Express was located and impounded as evidence. A suspected drug lab was also located and processed by assisting agencies.

The suspects were identified as 43-year-old Nicholas Shawn Mauth and 44-year-old Ryan Tapia Landry, both of Elizabeth. Both suspects were booked into the Elbert County Jail and are facing multiple felony charges.

Records show Mauth received two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for nearly $21,000 apiece last year in the roofing and new multifamily housing construction categories for his OnPoint LLC operation at the County Road 142 address. Both loans were forgiven, records show.

In a Nov. 14 phone interview with Elbert County Sheriff Tim Norton, the sheriff said the suspected drugs in question are yet to be identified and are at a lab for testing. The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office also reached out for assistance from Douglas County and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for technical expertise.

“Since I’ve been in office, we haven’t had any issues like this in Elbert County,” Norton said. “There’s not really been any change in crime and nothing serious going on. Traffic mostly.”

For more information, follow the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook at facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064810510085.

Elbert County, Elizabeth, Colorado, counterfeiting, counterfeit

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