Traffic stop in Jonesborough leads to elaborate counterfeit money operation, drug charges

WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – The Washington County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged a Knoxville man with drug and counterfeit money charges.

Sheriff Ed Graybeal said deputies made a traffic stop and found Timothy Matthew Buchanan with $2,000 in counterfeit money in his possession.

News Channel 11 learned there have been several arrests in counterfeit money around the region in the past several weeks.

A few weeks ago, we learned counterfeit money was found in Greene County. Johnson City Police made an arrest earlier this week and the Washington County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office arrested two women a few weeks ago.

“There’s been so many, so much fake money in our area,” Sheriff Graybeal said.

The most recent arrest happened Wednesday.

Deputies conducted a traffic stop at the Dollar General in Jonesborough, and found $2,000 worth of counterfeit bills on Timothy Buchanan.

Investigators linked him to a hotel in Sevier County, where they found drugs and an elaborate counterfeit money operation.

“Laptop, printer, put it on the paper, take a little knife and cut it out and go see what they could do with it,” Graybeal explained.

He said this crime is bad for the economy.

“Everybody’s got a small business, they lose money on this kind of stuff,” he said.

Anna Floyd works at The Corner Cup in downtown Jonesborough.

She said she was unaware the fake bills were in circulation around the region.

“I would have no idea if somebody had given us counterfeit bills. I would just take it like it was normal,” Floyd said.

There are a few ways to determine whether bills are counterfeit.

One way is by using a money counter, it will beep if a counterfeit bill is detected and show an error.

Another way to tell is by looking for a strip by using a black light. If it doesn’t have a strip, it’s fake.

Finally, the cheapest option is by using a counterfeit pen. If you mark the bill and it’s yellow, that means it’s real.

If the mark turns brown, that means it’s fake.

Hearing the news had customer Mike Elder checking his wallet. He said he’ll be more cautious in the future.

“I’ll be taking a little bit closer look at my money as I take it out and give it to people or receive change,” Elder said.

It’s unclear right now how much money has been put out into the community from this scam.

Sheriff Graybeal said the Secret Service is going to assist in the investigation.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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