The Secret Service and Windham police are investigating a local business and its associates in connection with a counterfeiting scheme that may have produced tens of thousands of dollars in fake bills that were used to buy heroin and cocaine.
A Cumberland County judge granted a search warrant in late April to a Windham detective to search Ron’s Auto Sales on Tandberg Trail and an apartment on Cotton Drive that was occupied by one of the dealer’s part-time employees who police believe is involved in printing the money. Three of the men named in the search warrant strongly denied the allegations in interviews last week.
In an affidavit in support of the search warrant filed in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court, Windham police Detective Paul J. Cox interviewed witnesses and at least one confidential informant who described a counterfeiting operation that became increasingly sophisticated over a period of months.
Early attempts to print bills began with consumer-level printers that produced a single bill on a sheet of cotton paper purchased at a local Staples, the affidavit says. More recently, witnesses described seeing sheets of bills produced at one time using a printing press.
Although no one has been charged with counterfeiting, Mark Glantz, the son of the business’s owner, was indicted in April on two counts of felony drug trafficking for alleged conduct in 2017. It was unclear whether the drug trafficking charge is tied into the counterfeiting scheme or if it is separate.
In an interview with the Portland Press Herald, Glantz, 54, strenuously denied that his father’s business was involved in any criminal activity.
“I don’t even know how we got implicated or even targeted in this report,” Glantz said. “You get people who say anything they want around this town. They (the police) found us to be perfectly innocent of any charges of anything to do with that.”
Glantz said he is a recovering drug user but he does not deal in narcotics.
“I’m very familiar with drug addiction and everything that goes along with it,” Glantz said. “But do I know people who go out of state and buy things? Absolutely not.”
Glantz declined to discuss the two trafficking charges he faces, and quickly ended the phone call after being asked about them. His court-appointed attorney, Anthony Sineni, did not respond to a call seeking comment.
Police seized from the business a computer, a printer, two cellphones and apparent drug paraphernalia, including two “loaded” needles and three spoons containing residue. Glantz said police have since given the computer back.
“I don’t even know how to use the computer,” Glantz said. “We’re computer-illiterate here.”
In interviews last week, police said they continue to work with both state and federal prosecutors to determine whether the evidence they collected warrants criminal action.
“I think (prosecutors) were collectively seeing what level of evidence we have to move on this federally or we’re going to be taking it on the state aspect,” said Windham police Capt. William Andrew.
Counterfeiting is a federal crime, so any state prosecution would have to be for other conduct, and Andrew did not say what state charges could be considered.
A representative of the Boston office of the Secret Service declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
According to the April 19 search warrant affidavit, the trail of information began in February with a tip from a confidential informant, who described how Mark Glantz – the son of the dealership’s owner and namesake, Ron Glantz – would send someone with $10,000 in cash to buy drugs in Massachusetts, and sometimes the bills were fakes printed in a downstairs office at the dealership.
Ron Glantz, reached at his business, denied involvement and said there were no charges pending against him for counterfeiting – although he does face one misdemeanor case for not keeping proper car dealership records, according to the courts.
Around the same time, someone at Lampron’s Lil Mart, a convenience store less than 2 miles from Ron’s Auto, reported that a customer found a fake $50 bill in the store’s doorway, and that it was dropped by an employee of Ron’s Auto. Months later, in April, an employee of Ron’s Auto tried to pass another fake $50 bill at the store, but asked for it back and left the store, the affidavit said.
Two other fake $50 bills were recovered in Scarborough and Buxton, and all four phony notes showed the same serial number, according to the affidavit.
Witnesses and the informant told police that one of the people primarily responsible for printing the money was William Boucher, 54, who lived at the Cotton Drive apartment where a police search resulted in the seizure of six cellphones and a counterfeit $50 bill. The affidavit does not say whether the $50 bill seized at the apartment matches the serial numbers of the previously discovered fake notes.
Reached at the Cotton Drive apartment Thursday, Boucher denied having any involvement in criminal activity – even before a reporter could tell him what the interview was about.
“That story’s totally bull,” Boucher said. “I’ve been charged with nothing.”
Boucher confirmed that the home was searched, but said he wasn’t present when it happened and he has no idea why police say they located a counterfeit $50 bill in the home.
“They never told us what they found,” Boucher said. “Me and Mark Glantz are the most innocent people in this whole thing. It has nothing to do with us.”
Boucher suggested the search warrant affidavit was based on false information provided by people “runnin’ their mouth, rattin’,” he said.
“I assure you there’s no charges coming, because nobody’s done nothing,” Boucher said.
Cassandra Farris, one of the witnesses, told people that Mark Glantz was involved in drug dealing, and that the fake money was being passed around at Ron’s Auto, but that its primary purpose was to pay drug dealers. She also told officers shortly before the April search warrant was issued that Boucher was getting ready to print $60,000 worth of bills, and he was thinking of moving the operation out of the car dealership to a private house nearby.
Farris also told police that Mark Glantz planned to send two cars to Massachusetts the following day with $11,000 to purchase heroin and cocaine, and described Glantz’s drug purchasing tactics and schedule.
“Farris told me she has personally seen sheets of money printed out by Boucher,” according to the affidavit. “She told me that Boucher had a press that he has set up to print sheets of bills.”