Four individuals — three from Cumberland County, one from Robeson and another from Illinois — discovered that a trip down I-40 into Sampson County while carrying purported fictitious checks can land you in serious trouble with law enforcement, and behind bars.
That’s where the four remained late Thursday afternoon facing separate $1 million bonds and a laundry list of felony counterfeiting-related charges stemming from a stop made Wednesday by a Sampson Sheriff’s deputy with the county’s Criminal Interdiction Team.
Jailed are Brittany Lattice Williams, 22, of 5007 Summer Ridge Road, Fayetteville; Tinea Janay Middlelton, 23, of 652 Pine St., Shannon; Jasmine Rochelle Sellers, 25, of 5820 Tillery Lane, Fayetteville; and Aubrey Eugene Temple, 25, of 299 North 73rd St., East Saint Louis, Ill.
All four are charged with 34 counts each of possession of counterfeit instrument and one count of felony conspiracy.
The four were taken into custody late Wednesday afternoon following an I-40 stop by a Criminal Interdiction Team deputy for a traffic violation.
According to sheriff’s officials, a green Mercury was pulled over at mile marker 352, and during the stop, the deputy smelled a strong odor of marijuana on the passenger. The occupants, it was noted, were reportedly acting suspiciously as well. When another deputy arrived on the scene, a search was conducted of the vehicle, revealing 34 fictitious checks made out in varying amounts.
U.S. Secret Service agents, along with Sampson sheriff’s investigators, were called to the scene and took control of the probe, which continued into the afternoon and evening.
Preliminary investigation, a release on the incident noted, revealed that the four were involved in a scheme, traveling to various locations across the state and attempting to cash fraudulently manufactured checks on a variety of accounts.
The probe, reports note, led to another location in Wake County in which the printing operation was discovered and additional arrests were made.
Attempts to reach the Raleigh Police Department for information on the Wake arrests were unsuccessful by press time.
Sampson Sheriff Jimmy Thornton reiterated his belief in criminal interdiction and the vital role it plays throughout Sampson. “This is a good example of criminal interdiction through motor vehicle enforcement,” he stressed.
“Through follow-up and keen observation, the deputies were able to go from a simple moving violation to 140 felony charges. These individuals were intent on defrauding multiple companies of tens of thousands of dollars; however their efforts were hampered by an alert deputy sheriff,” Thornton asserted.