Crime & Courts

2 arrested in Unalaska for making counterfeit money

Police in Unalaska arrested and charged two men over the weekend for allegedly making counterfeit money.

The Unalaska Department of Public Safety said in a statement that Henry Zablan and Nicholas Hough are connected to the "counterfeit operation."

Deputy Chief Jennifer Shockley said Zablan faces two counts of first-degree forgery, and Hough has been charged with single counts of first-degree forgery and a drug-related felony. Officers found methamphetamine in Hough's motor home during his arrest, Shockley said.

Police have identified at least one other person of interest in the case, Shockley said.

Officers got a tip about the alleged operation while investigating a burglary and theft. Search warrants were obtained for both suspects' homes, according to the public safety department.

"Counterfeiting supplies as well as some U.S. currency in $10, $20 and $100 denominations were found in Zablan's residence," the statement says.

Shockley said she could not provide the exact amount of fake money police found. Officers recovered about 30 different bills, according to charging documents.

It was the men's statements to police that form the basis of the state's charges. Hough said Zablan washed ink from real money, and used the faded bills and regular paper to produce counterfeits through photocopying; Zablan said he photocopied the money for about a month or two months and was "practicing and getting better," the charges say.

"(Zablan) said he does it for fun and has not tried to pass the bills off as real," the charges say. But his alleged partner in crime told police Zablan used the fakes to buy marijuana.

The charges say Hough gave tips to Zablan on how to make the counterfeits more easily.

Shockley characterized the suspects' alleged crimes as a "small operation," but she admitted that the Aleutian Islands community has not experienced a similar case and authorities have nothing to compare it to.

Jerzy Shedlock

Jerzy Shedlock is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.