Arthur Hall, Senior News Editor
Weeks of painstaking investigation by detectives from the St Andrew North Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) ended yesterday with the disruption of a major counterfeit ring which operated out of the upper-St Andrew community of Constant Spring.
More than $1.5 million in counterfeit local currency of several denominations, a large quantity of United States currency and several fraudulent cheques were seized by the police during operations at two premises.
Equipment used in the manufacturing of the counterfeit money, including a scanner, laptops, printers and a compressor used to create the minute details on the notes, were also seized.
A gazetted list with more than 1,600 dormant bank accounts with more than $10 million in total, dating back to 1971, was also found by the investigators.
The suspected mastermind - a graphic artiste who was recently deported from the United States and who helped to create the artwork at a renovated police station in the St Andrew North Division - was arrested.
Attempted to pass fraudulent cheque
According to the police, on September 23, a man attempted to pass a fraudulent cheque at a financial institution in the Constant Spring area.
The fraud was detected and the police called in. The man was arrested and a major investigation launched by detectives from Constant Spring.
"The detectives from the St Andrew North CIB, in an effort to identify the origin of the cheque, conducted several intelligence-driven operations which concluded ... (yesterday)," Detective Inspector Marvin Brooks told journalists yesterday.
"During this raid, members of the new and relaunched anti-gang team of the St Andrew North Division ... held a suspect who was in the process of manufacturing what turned out to be a quantity of counterfeit notes," added Brooks.
He said a top-level police team will continue the investigation. However, there are indications that some of the counterfeit money might have already entered the system.