Investigation into counterfeit money leads to drug arrests in Rushville

RUSHVILLE, Ind. – An investigation into counterfeit money in Rushville led to the arrests of several people on drug-related charges.

According to court documents, two fake $100 bills were used at Rushville businesses on Nov. 24, 2017, and Dec. 23, 2017—one at a McDonald’s restaurant and another at a Village Pantry store.

Investigation into the counterfeit money led them to Johnny Messer, who was spotted on surveillance video at the Village Pantry. He’s also accused of using a fake $100 bill at a Rushville McDonald’s.

On Jan. 6, 2018, officers obtained a search warrant for a home on North Harrison Street. Investigators were specifically looking for counterfeit cash, lottery tickets, printers, paper, ink and other items used to make fake currency.

The Rushville Police Department, Rush County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police executed the search warrant around 9 p.m. Saturday. Once inside, they found two additional counterfeit $100 bills and a pen used to test their authenticity, according to court documents.

However, a large amount of drugs and drug paraphernalia left in plain sight became the focal point of the investigation, court documents said. Police obtained a second search warrant.

Officers conducted a complete search of the home. They found methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and evidence that the people at the home were involved “in the illegal distribution of narcotics, specifically methamphetamine,” according to court documents. They also found a handgun.

Investigators said seven juveniles were inside the home, which police described as “very cluttered and disorganized.” Drug paraphernalia was within reach of the children, police said, including drugs, pills, razors and several methamphetamine pipes.

Two people hid in a closet during the raid because they thought they were being robbed, according to court documents.

Police arrested five people on the following charges;

  • Eric J. Basham, 50: Dealing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a common nuisance, resisting law enforcement and possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Melissa L. Macy, 35: Possession of a controlled substance, visiting a common nuisance
  • Johnny Ray Messer, 30: Possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a hypodermic syringe, dealing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, neglect of a dependent and possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Patricia Ann Sallee, 51: Possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, dealing methamphetamine, maintaining a common nuisance, resisting law enforcement
  • Taylor N. Wright, 29: Possession of methamphetamine, possession of a hypodermic syringe, maintaining a common nuisance, neglect of a dependent, possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia