Three BR men booked with counterfeiting

Baton Rouge police arrested three men Monday in a counterfeit money ring found operating in a Constitution Avenue hotel room, according to affidavits of probable cause.

Officials from the Comfort Inn at 4924 Constitution Ave., told police they smelled a strong odor and heard loud noises coming from Room No. 300, the affidavits say.

When officers arrived, they said they found Lashalln Lagarde, 39, leaving the room, holding a dark-colored suitcase.

After detaining Lagarde, the officers approached the room, noticing that the smell became stronger as they got closer, the affidavits say.

Inside the room, the officers said they found Dewille Thomas, 30, and Kenneth Sterling, 27.

The officers also discovered a white powder substance throughout the room as well as bottles with concealed labels and “additional suspicious items,” the affidavits say.

Lagarde, Thomas and Sterling told police that they met two men, who appeared to be from Africa, and agreed to go to the hotel room to create counterfeit money, the affidavits say.

The trio said they gave the two men legitimate U.S. currency to create the counterfeit cash, but their attempts at making the bills were unsuccessful, the affidavits say.

The trio told police the strong odor came from the counterfeiting process. Police found more than $20,300 in the possession of the three men, the affidavits say. Lagarde had $12,502, Thomas had $6,435 and Sterling had $1,428.

Police said they noticed that the air conditioning unit and the floor in the room were damaged, according to the affidavits.

Officers found a Lortab in Sterling’s possession, the affidavits say.

Lagarde and Thomas, both of 2360 Balis Drive, were booked into Parish Prison on one count each of monetary instrument abuse and simple criminal damage to property.

Sterling, 3030 Congress Blvd., was booked on one count each of monetary instrument abuse, simple criminal damage to property and possession of Schedule II drugs.

Police are still looking for the two men that Lagarde, Thomas and Sterling met in the hotel room but officers don’t have descriptions of them, police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said Tuesday.