Virginia DUI Arrest Turns into Funny Money Bust

By Topher

In Prince William County, Virginia, a DUI arrest turned into a counterfeit currency bust when police discovered that the two men being arrested had three odd-looking $100 bills in their possession.

According to the Washington Post, police nabbed the two men on what they thought was a routine suspicion of drunk driving stop. When the police officer searched the men, though, he found several $100 bills that didn’t look quite right.

What tipped him off was a message written next to Benjamin Franklin’s head that read “BILLETE DE LA SUERTE ALASITAS.” According to the Washington Post, it denotes the bill as a good luck ticket for the festival of Alasitas, which is a festival held every year in Peru and Bolivia. At the festivals, bills of this kind are handed out widely in casinos and elsewhere.

Apparently these bills are available on eBay, from a seller operating out of England.

The officer determined that the bills were counterfeit, and police investigated the strange bills further. They found that the driver’s friend had even more of the bills, and when they searched his house they found 59 more.

According to the U.S. Secret Service, these bills have appeared in the Federal Reserve Bank 125 times. In other words, someone has accepted this type of bill as real currency at least 125 times over the years.

Federal prosecutors were not interested in pursuing the case of the drunk drivers who were caught with counterfeit cash, so instead the county will handle the case. County police were not aware of the bills actually being passed as real anywhere.

One man, Jose Portillio, got charged with drunk driving, refusal to take a Breathalyzer test, possession of fictitious bank notes and possession of a false work card. The other man, Ronald Virto, was charged with possessing more than ten fictitious bank notes, passing fictitious bank notes, and drunk driving charges.

Many times DUI arrests lead to additional charges. This appears to be one of those cases, when one offense clues police onto another and a DUI suspect must answer additional charges, too.



NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Smith Pleads Guilty to DUI

By Topher

National Football League Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith recently pleaded guilty to drunk driving in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The Associated Press reports that Smith cited a desire to be a responsible asset to the community in his decision to plead guilty.

As a part of the guilty plea, Smith agreed to pay a $1,000 fine and was given a 90-day suspended sentence. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped charges of speeding and refusing to take a breathalyzer test. Smith will also be required to take an alcohol safety program, and his driving privileges will be restricted.

Under the agreement, Smith can only drive when going to work, medical visits, visits with his mother, to the alcohol class and when he takes his children to school and to the doctor.

Smith was convicted of the DUI charge in General District court in July, and was allowed an appeal and a retrial. Smith made the plea agreement before going to retrial, which was scheduled to occur in the near future.

Smith said in a statement to reporters that the risk in the case would not be worth the reward, and that he thought he had only a 50 percent chance of getting out of the DUI charge. Even then, he would still have to negotiate the additional charges. As it is, he was able to come to a plea agreement that would allow him to, in his words, “take ownership of that evening.”

Smith also said that he would be hiring a former state trooper to accompany him to events at which he might be consuming alcohol. Of the night in question, Smith said that he spent the evening with friends, and that he had consumed some wine with dinner.

This is Smith’s third arrest for DUI. In 1997, a DUI conviction was later dismissed, and in 2003 he was acquitted of any charges.

As a member of the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins, Smith amassed 200 sacks, which puts him at the top of the all-time list. He retired from the sport in 2003 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2009.