The arrest of two occupants in a speeding vehicle on I-40 in the early afternoon hours of Oct. 24 has led to a multi-agency investigation. As many as 20 persons have been identified as theft victims and up to 100 as fraud and theft victims.

Ill-gained proceeds of the crime spree across the country were used to fund a vacation gambling trip and to feed a drug addiction, according to an updated arrest report.

On that date shortly before 1 p.m., Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Dixon stopped a vehicle traveling east on I-40 and took Suzie Belle Sleep, 42, Topeka, KS, and Jason Robert Bell, 46, of Bakesfield, CA, into custody. Sleep was wanted on a warrant from Kansas on a fraud charge.

Bell was jailed on new charges of felony possession of marijuana, felony possession of a controlled substance, criminal impersonation and driving on a revoked license.

Deputies seized from the vehicle a gallon container containing small baggies with marijuana inside totaling ten pounds; 11 syringes with “DAB,” a controlled substance; two THC lollipops; and a .9-mm handgun.

Also seized were numerous credit cards, cell phone, driver’s licenses and personal identification of others, mail and laptop computers. Also seized was a printer, vouchers and pay stubs, journals listing victims’ account information, treasury check and documents, various credit/debit cards, W2 tax forms, blank check stock and fraudulent checks.

In a statement to deputies and federal agents, Bell admitted to stealing mail, searching dumpsters for personal information and using or selling that information and committing fraud and forgery against numerous U.S. citizens and the government, according to Investigator Jon Wirey’s report.

In addition, Bell told investigators with the FBI and U.S. Secret Service that he committed the acts “to fund a bucket list vacation tour of America while enjoying casino gambling trips and to fuel his methamphetamine addiction.”

Sleep was asked for an interview but reportedly asked for an attorney and no interview was conducted.

Victims were identified from Nevada to Kansas to Minnesota and some in Tennessee. Efforts to contact victims has begun and the investigation is continuing.

 

Michael Moser may be reached at mmoser@crossville-chronicle.com

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