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Local News

Traffic Stop Leads to Arrest of 3 in Alleged Counterfeiting Ring

Drugs, currency and forged $100 bills seized from vehicle of suspect, Jennifer Howard, 30, of Long Beach

Counterfeit paraphernalia Click to view larger
Sheriff’s deputies seized a case containing methamphetamine, a stack of washed genuine U.S. currency, partial forged, and fully forged $100 bills on Tuesday after a traffic stop led to an arrest on counterfeiting charges. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
Jennifer Howard Click to view larger
Jennifer Howard

Three people were arrested this week after a traffic stop in Buellton led to the discovery of an alleged counterfeiting ring, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

At about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday, a Buellton motorcycle deputy observed a 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage speeding westbound on the 200 block of East Highway 246, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff’s spokeswoman.

The deputy pulled over the driver, identified as Jennifer Howard, 30, of Long Beach, although she originally provided false information to the deputy, Hoover said.

Investigation revealed that Howard has two felony arrest warrants for counterfeiting/forgery and was driving on a suspended license, Hoover said.

“A subsequent search of her vehicle led to the discovery of a case containing methamphetamine, a stack of washed genuine U.S. currency, partial forged and fully forged $100 bills,” Hoover said. “The case also contained items used to produce counterfeit bills.”

Howard was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of forgery/counterfeiting, false impersonation, drug possession, driving on a suspended license, and her warrants, Hoover said.

She was being held without bail.

Lauren Freeman Click to view larger
Lauren Freeman
Jordyn Naona Click to view larger
Jordyn Naona

Investigators also learned that Howard was on her way to a hotel in Thousand Oaks, and they alerted the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, which sent deputies to the hotel.

“There, they contacted 31-year-old Lauren Freeman of Santa Ana who was on probation,” Hoover said. “Ventura County deputies searched her room and located numerous washed/partially forged, and forged $100 bills. They also located a computer and printing materials.”

Freeman and 35-year-old Jordyn Naona of Dana Point were arrested and booked into the Ventura County Jail, Hoover said.

Details on the charges filed against them and their bail status were not available.

The U.S. Secret Service was contacted and their agents are assisting in the investigation.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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