ELBERT COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Two men were arrested after an investigation into counterfeit money uncovered several criminal activities at a residence in Elizabeth, affidavits in the case said.

The investigation began on Oct. 24 after a clerk at a Murphy’s Express gas station alerted police of a patron trying to pay with fake cash. When deputies arrived, surveillance video showed the man trying to pay with a fake $20 bill and then with a fake $50, the document said.

The clerk told the deputy that the man used his gas station loyalty card and provided him with the phone number associated with the membership, which was connected to Nicholas Shawn Mauth, 43. The deputy was able to find an address for Mauth with that information.

Nick Mauth, accused of counterfeit operation in Elizabeth
Nick Mauth, accused of counterfeit operation in Elizabeth (Photo credit: Elbert County Sheriff’s Office)

Deputies were dispatched on Nov. 10 for a “suspicious circumstance that had taken place,” the affidavit said. There was a reference to counterfeit money being made and that someone had been asked to spend the money.

Information provided to Elbert County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Travis Turner included that there was heroin in the house and needles in the car. A person who provided information said they observed an open laptop with tabs on “how to print fake money,” the document said.

Turner was informed that Ryan Landry, 44, was also involved in the operation and that he uses heroin, which was an issue between Landry and Mauth and that Mauth wanted to kick Landry out because of his use.

Ryan Landry, accused of counterfeit operation in Elizabeth
Ryan Landry, accused of counterfeit operation in Elizabeth (Photo credit: Elbert County Sheriff’s Office)

The two utilized an Acura, an H3 Hummer, a Mercedes Benz SUV and a Ford truck on various trips to spend the counterfeit money at different businesses, the affidavit said.

There were also tenants renting out the basement in the house Mauth and Landry lived in but the affidavit did not say if they were involved or aware of the operation.

After recording the information and layout of the house, ECSO obtained a search warrant for the residence. When deputies arrived, Mauth and Landry were taken into custody before executing the search.

Numerous items were discovered during the search including multiple computers, printers and ink cartridges, a paper shredder, several counterfeit bills and numerous pieces of jewelry and watches. In addition to those items, deputies also found guns and ammunition in two safes:

  • Sig Sauer P320
  • 10 rifles, 3 noted without serial numbers
  • One shotgun
  • Two pistols
  • 22 unloaded rifle magazines, many above the state legal limit of 15-round capacity
  • One high-capacity loaded pistol magazine

One of the rifles found was a 300 Blackout rifle that had a 30-round loaded magazine in the magazine well, the affidavit said.

Next to the house was a temporary shelter that had several items possibly associated with explosives which initiated deputies to call the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Upon review of a photo sent to the CBI, the deputies were told to exit the scene and called in the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad. The materials tested were not reactive or flammable, the affidavit said.

Out of caution, deputies cleared the area and resumed the search the following day. The DougCo Sheriff’s Office hazmat team along with Elizabeth Fire swept the shelter and found what was a possible gold extraction lab and meth was not positively found, the document said.

Charges Mauth and Landry are facing

According to the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office, the two are facing charges of:

  • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
  • Forgery 
  • Conspiracy to commit forgery 
  • Possession of burglary tools 
  • Criminal possession of forgery devices  
  • Criminal possession of a forged instrument  
  • Large capacity magazine charge 
  • Child abuse 

Mauth is also facing charges of possession of a defaced firearm and possession of a dangerous or illegal weapon. They are being held at the Elbert County Jail during the ongoing investigation.

ECSO Investigations Sergeant Jonathon Rollf told FOX31’s Gabby Easterwood there was a minor living in the home with Mauth and Landry, which is why there are contributing to the delinquency of a minor and child abuse charges.