Father and son arrested in counterfeiting investigation

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ROOTSTOWN- Portage County authorities on Monday displayed sheets of fake currency along with printers, ink and more.

Investigators tell FOX 8 News,  the items were being used to print counterfeit bills that were used in at least two transactions.

Authorities were tipped off after Justin Smith, 25, was believed to use two of the $20 bills to buy a go cart from a neighbor.

Investigators with the Portage County Sheriff's Office said the numbers on the fake bills matched the numbers on counterfeit bills that had been used at a local gas station.

"Some of them look pretty good actually; it's hard to tell unless you have the correct means of testing it," said Portage County Detective Sheah Boughner.

The face currency was being printed on 8"x 11" sheets of resume paper.  Authorities also confiscated pens and lights that are used to detect authentication markings on real bills.

"I actually spoke with someone at one of the banks; she said she has been doing this for 19 years and said it's the best counterfeit money she has seen thus far," said Portage County Detective Robert James.

Smith was living at the residence with his father, Curtis Smith, 47, who told FOX 8 he suspected his son was using drugs,  but did not know about the fake currency.

Smith said his son had already done four years in prison for a 2012 arrest in which investigators found evidence of a meth lab at the home.

Curtis Smith tells FOX 8 News that he wanted to evict Justin but he told his father he needed a 30-day notice.

Investigators say when they went to the home, Justin Smith attempted to leave using a back door.  He was stopped by authorities and is believed to have had drugs in his possession when he was arrested.

Authorities also confiscated suspected drugs and pipes they believe were used to smoke meth and marijuana.  Investigators say a 14-year-old girl was also living at the house.

She has been placed with a relative.

Curtis Smith faces two misdemeanor charges including permitting drug abuse and child endangering.  Justin Smith was arrested on a felony charge of possession of methamphetamine.

The case will now go to the Portage County Prosecutor while investigators discuss it with the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney's Office to determine if they are interested in filing federal charges.

"With the amount of currency and the copies of currency that we have here, I have got to believe that there is probably a lot of counterfeit $20 bills out there on the street," said Portage County Major Larry Limbert.

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