A man sought for his alleged involvement with an Erath County counterfeit ring was nabbed by law enforcement officials Thursday.
The arrest came hours after Erath County Crime Stoppers called on the public's assistance in locating the fugitive. According to law enforcement officials, tipsters who read Thursday morning's edition of the Empire-Tribune, which featured an article on the effort to track down Mark Daniel Perez, began reporting his whereabouts that morning.
Perez, 24, was arrested without incident Thursday afternoon by Sgt. Bob Gonzales with the Erath County Sheriff's Office after several tipsters called the Crime Stoppers hotline to report his location, according to Detective Sgt. James Gresham with the Stephenville Police Department.
Gresham, who serves as the media liaison for Crime Stoppers, said tipsters also called the offices of city and county law enforcement officials looking to cash in on Perez's location. Tipsters led Gonzales directly to Perez, at a residence in the 700 block of North Grafton Street in Dublin.
Gresham said Friday that Crime Stoppers will ante up the reward money owed to the confidential citizen who aided in the arrest.
As of Friday, Perez remained in the Erath County Jail held on a $30,000 bond. He is charged with forgery, a third-degree felony.
Gresham said Perez's legal woes could add up to much more than he bargained for as the case is currently being reviewed by an assistant United States attorney for possible federal prosecution.
The arrest is the second in an ongoing investigation involving the United State Secret Service, Erath County Sheriff's Office and Stephenville Police Department regarding a local counterfeit ring.
Camille Caskey, 28, another Erath County resident, was arrested Sept. 9 and also charged with forgery for her alleged involvement with the illegal operation.
The multi-agency investigation was spurred by more than a dozen calls reporting that counterfeit currency was being circulated in the community.
Prior to Caskey's arrest, investigators conducted surveillance and reportedly witnessed a man conducting a transaction at a local business and passing counterfeit cash. At some point during the investigation, the suspect realized he was being watched and attempted to destroy evidence linking himself and others to the counterfeit operation.
Following the suspect's trail, law enforcement officials recovered partially burned counterfeit currency, a scanner and materials used to print the funny money.
Even after the arrest, the counterfeit money continued to be passed in the county. Area business owners have been warned that typical methods used in identifying fake bills like the counterfeit pens used at several area retailers are not always effective in identifying counterfeit currency. The warning has reportedly caused several retailers to refuse $50 and $100 bills.
"Erath County Crime Stoppers is dedicated to bringing fugitives to justice," Gresham said, adding that keeping crime off area streets is a community-wide effort that relies on the help of citizens.