Man arrested for allegedly printing counterfeit money out of hotel room

Ramon Marquell Ankton (Submitted photo)
Ramon Marquell Ankton (Submitted photo)

A local man who was arrested Dec. 21 on multiple felony charges by Hot Springs police for reportedly running a counterfeit money printing operation out of a local hotel room remained in custody Tuesday.

Ramon Marquell Ankton, 36, who listed his room at the Days Inn by Wyndham Hot Springs, 2208 Central Ave., as his address, was taken into custody shortly before 3:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and charged with 18 counts of second-degree forgery, each punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and one count of possession of a forgery device, punishable by up to 10 years.

Ankton, who also had a warrant for failure to appear, was initially being held on a $94,500 bond and was set to appear Friday in Garland County District Court. He remained in custody Tuesday in lieu of a $15,000 bond and is set for a felony review hearing on Feb. 16.

According to court records, Ankton was convicted of possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, and possession of drug paraphernalia on Sept. 2, 2016, in Hot Spring County and sentenced to three years' probation.

According to the probable cause affidavit on Thursday's arrest, police responded to the Days Inn regarding a wanted person, identified as Ankton, who was believed to be staying there.

They spoke with hotel management and determined Ankton was staying in one of the rooms and after confirming the warrant for his arrest, officers made contact with him in the room and took him into custody on the warrant.

Officers allegedly observed a computer and printer in plain view in the room and got consent from a woman who had actually rented the room to conduct a search. They reportedly observed what appeared to be counterfeit bills that had been printed so they exited the room and called for detectives to come to the scene.

Detective Matthew Cheatham responded and was told Ankton had been taken to jail on the warrant. He went to the jail while a search warrant for the room was prepared and spoke to Ankton after reading him his rights.

Ankton allegedly admitted to Cheatham he had been "copying money on the printer and printing it." Asked what his intent was for the money, Ankton allegedly said "to use it."

After the search warrant was obtained, Cheatham returned to the hotel room where he reportedly located a printer with a USB drive. Ankton had allegedly told him he was copying the bills to a flash drive in the printer. Officers also located 17 pages of "uncut bills printed on paper."

There were reportedly bills of various denominations on the papers and Cheatham located one bill that appeared to have been printed with the front and back "cut out and glued together." There was allegedly a total of 18 U.S. currency bills that had been printed with many of the papers having multiple bills printed per page.

All the items and bills were seized as evidence. The woman at the hotel room was not charged in the incident.

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