Mexican police arrested a print shop owner and his head printer after a tip from the U. S. Secret Service alleging that they had counterfeited about $5 million in American money.
Both men remained jailed Tuesday in Tijuana, while authorities on both sides of the border searched for other members of the operation, which was broken up by a raid last week on the print shop.
The Secret Service alerted Mexican authorities last Thursday that it had received information that counterfeiters were operating out of the Tijuana neighborhood of Colonia Alemen, several miles from downtown.
Police went to the Cooperativa Editorial Notimundo Informativo printing shop later that day and arrested the shop owner, Enrique Manuel Maytorel Arredondo, 42, and master printer Luis Romero Becerril, 62.
Mexican police announced their arrests Monday night.
U. S. law enforcement officials had been on the trail of the phony money-makers since September, when several bogus $100 bills were discovered circulating in Tijuana and San Diego, said Steve Sergek, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service office in San Diego.
Rodolfo Rivapalacio, head of the robbery detail of the Baja California state Judicial Police in Tijuana, said offset plates and negatives allegedly used to print the fake bills were confiscated.
Rivapalacio said the print shop owner admitted during questioning that he had printed about 2,000 sheets of false $100 bills for two men he did not know.
Mexican authorities, who estimate the sheets would have produced about $5 million in counterfeit money, said Secret Service agents recently recovered about $550,000 of it in Los Angeles.