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Counterfeiting defendant to remain in jail

June 13, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

A Washington County District judge found probable cause Thursday to continue holding a Hancock man for trial on counterfeiting charges.

Jerry Edwin Petry, 47, of the 3500 block of National Pike, appeared before Judge R. Noel Spence in a preliminary hearing. Spence ordered bond continued at $50,000.

Petry was returned to the Washington County Detention Center following the hearing. He has been held there since his arrest in May.

Petry also faces federal charges of counterfeiting, possession of explosives and possession of firearms, authorities said.

At Thursday's hearing, Washington County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Robert Leatherman said his department joined the U.S. Secret Service and federal department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in the investigation that led to Petry's arrest.

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Leatherman said he waited with other officers on the National Pike the morning of May 1 while a Secret Service informant drove to Petry's house in a wooded area. The informant came back with poor-quality counterfeit $100 bills he said he got from Petry, Leatherman said.

Leatherman said officers couldn't observe the informant or the house from the road, because of heavy brush and trees.

Leatherman said the informant told officers that Petry was trying to perfect the bills, which he was producing on his own computer and printer, so they could be passed. He said the informant claimed Petry was going to try to find a buyer who would give him 50 cents on the dollar for the bills.

Agents armed with search and seizure warrants stopped Petry's van as he left his home on May 14 and found six $100 bills in Petry's wallet, Leatherman said. They confiscated his van, computer and printer, he said.

Leatherman said that Petry, after his arrest, told officers he hadn't passed any of the bills, and had in fact burned most of them in his stove because they were of low quality.

In addition to local charges, Petry is charged by the Secret Service with manufacturing counterfeit U.S. currency, possession of explosives and possession of firearms, authorities said.

In a statement after Petry's arrest on federal charges, agents said Petry had made about 50,000 worth of $100 bills, but passed none of them to their knowledge.

Authorities have not said what explosives or firearms they found in their search of Petry's home.

Defense attorney Gordon Lynn said after the hearing that Petry will plead innocent to all charges. He said he plans to show that the informant set up Petry, and that Petry "had no intention whatsoever to pass these bills."

"It's only based on the word of the confidential information that he intended to sell (the bills)," Lynn said.

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