Traffic stop turns up card skimmer, phony gift cards

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Three Georgia men face multiple charges after officials found a large amount of fraudulent gift cards, a handheld credit card skimmer and guns during a traffic stop on Interstate 95 Tuesday morning.

The Nash County Sheriff’s Office Highway Interdiction Team conducted a vehicle stop on I-95 at mile marker 145 north of Rocky Mount as a result of a traffic violation. The car was registered in Virginia, officials said.

As deputies spoke to the driver, 25-year-old Kanton Tolber Pryor, they smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle, according the sheriff’s office.

After a subsequent vehicle search, deputies found three semi-automatic handguns that were concealed and a small metal grinder with marijuana residue.

A continued search of Pryor and the two passengers, Jerry Lynn Ladler, 29, and Joseph Michael Pascall, 28, revealed a large amount of fraudulent gift cards on their persons, according to officials.

Deputies also found a handheld skimmer and a laptop inside the passenger area of the vehicle which deputies say was likely used to embed false information on the gift cards.

Officials found identification cards with two different victim names and operator license numbers that had been altered and were used in the “exploitation process of the fraudulent gift cards,” according to the sheriff’s office.

The three men, all of Covington, Georgia, were arrested.

Pascall, Ladler and Pryor were each charged with felony identity theft, felony possession of more than five counterfeit instruments, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and misdemeanor possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

Ladler faces an additional charge of misdemeanor carrying a concealed gun.

The suspects were placed in the Nash County Jail in Nashville, each under a $43,000 secured bond.

Their first court appearance is slated for Thursday.