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TMCNet:  Traffic stop leads to felony counterfeiting charges

[January 29, 2013]

Traffic stop leads to felony counterfeiting charges

Jan 29, 2013 (The Sampson Independent - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Traffic stop leads to felony counterfeiting charges slideshow A suspicious acting driver stopped by law enforcement for a traffic violation Sunday afternoon is now facing a lot more than a citation. Instead the Raleigh man has been jailed on a laundry list of felonies that include trafficking stolen identities and possession of counterfeit goods.
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Pa Gibbi Njie, 25, of 2910 Calvary Drive, Apt. 17 Raleigh, was taken into custody just after 1 p.m. Jan. 27 and charged with 29 counts of possession of counterfeit instrument/currency; one count possession of 5 or more counterfeit instruments; one count trafficking stolen identities; and one count financial card forgery. All are felonies.

According to Sheriff's Capt. Eric Pope, Njie was arrested after a member of the county's Criminal Interdiction Team stopped his 2008 Chrysler Aspen on Suttontown Road for a traffic violation. The vehicle had been traveling on I-40, reports note, before turning onto the Sampson County road.

Once at the vehicle, the deputy noticed several cigarette cartoons in the vehicle and thought the driver was acting suspicious, leading him to ask Njie if he could search the vehicle. The suspect gave the consent to search and the deputy discovered 38 cartoons of cigarettes and a bag of Visa-type gift cards inside.

"It was a really good stop," Pope said. "The deputy did a great job of picking up on signs of a suspicious nature and following through." The deputy checked the magnetic coding on the gift cards against the printed account number on one of them, discovering that they did not match. Receipts were also found in the vehicle indicating that several cartoons of cigarettes had been purchased with the fraudulent cards.

Njie was arrested and charged with the myriad felonies. He was placed in the Sampson County Detention Center under a $92,500 bond. His first court appearance is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 1.

The items discovered in Njie's vehicle were seized.

Pope said it was a common practice to buy cigarettes in bulk, often using fraudulent cards, and then carrying them to northern states to sell, raking in triple the purchase price.

"A cartoon of cigarettes you might purchase in North Carolina for $40 can be sold in New York for $140. So a lot of times, suspects will buy a couple cartoons here, a couple cartoons there and then take them up north to sell." Also common practice, according to the sheriff's captain, is accumulating gift cards, new or used, and then reprogramming them using credit card numbers stolen from unsuspecting individuals.

"Gift cards don't have a name on them, so it makes it easier. All a person has to have is a magnetic reader and a computer. They obtain credit card information from an individual, swipe the gift card and then enter that information onto the gift card or pre-paid debit card, embedding that information." Those cards are then used to purchase cigarettes or other items.

___ (c)2013 The Sampson Independent (Clinton, N.C.) Visit The Sampson Independent (Clinton, N.C.) at www.clintonnc.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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