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STATESVILLE, N.C. -- A Statesville couple has been arrested on charges of forgery and drug possession.

According to Iredell County Sheriff s Office, Michael and Debra Lamp were arrested as part of an investigation into counterfeit currency that was being passed to area businesses.

Officials said the investigation began in early June after they received a series of reports from Iredell County businesses that had received counterfeit bills.

According to a release, detectives began to link the case to additional counterfeit cases that other law enforcement agencies in surrounding counties had opened. Detectives said the fake bills had unique characteristics outside of being forged.

On June 19, investigators received information that led them to the Lamp s home on Serenity Lane in Statesville. Detectives interviewed both spouses and searched the property. According to officials, they found items used in the manufacturing of counterfeit bills, some of which included a unique type of paper, printing devices, ink and tools used to cut paper ... unfinished bills were located, having not yet been cut to proper size.

Debra Lamp was arrested on two charges of forgery of notes, checks; one count simple possession schedule VI marijuana; possession of drug paraphernalia and one charge trafficking of opium or heroin.

Michael Lamp was arrested on one charge of simple possession schedule VI; one charge possession of drug paraphernalia and one charge forgery of notes, checks.

Both Michael and Debra Lamp are being held in Iredell County Detention under a $25,000 secured bond. Officials said Debra Lamp also had outstanding warrants in Davidson County and that both Lamps have prior felony convictions.

Additional charges may be pending, as detectives said it s possible that hundreds, possibly thousands, of counterfeit bills have been passed around Iredell and surrounding counties. The U.S. Secret Service is assisting the investigation.

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