Uganda to deport American charged in US for counterfeiting
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — An American who has been on trial in Kampala for counterfeiting currency notes worth $180,400 will be deported to the U.S. where he faces criminal charges, a Ugandan court ordered Thursday.
Ryan Andrew Gustafson pleaded with Magistrate Flavia Nabakooza not to have him deported.
“I would rather remain in Luzira (the prison where he was in Kampala) than deporting me. Those people will kill me,” Gustafson said without elaborating.
U.S. authorities in December 2014 charged Gustafson with leading a multimillion-dollar international counterfeit money operation based in Uganda. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania said Gustafson mainly lived in Texas and Colorado when he was in the U.S.
Gustafson was arrested on Dec. 11, 2014 in Kampala. Printers and other equipment used to make high-quality fake $20, $50 and $100 bills were also seized.
Authorities said he allegedly made more than $2 million in U.S. currency, most of it passed in Uganda, but about $270,000 of which was shipped to the United States.
The scheme reportedly unraveled when a fake $100 bill passed at a Pittsburgh coffee shop last December was detected by bank employees, authorities said.
Investigators said they traced that bill to a Pittsburgh man and further investigation determined Gustafson was shipping the bills to others in Florida, Minnesota, Texas and Washington. They said about $30,000 in counterfeit bills was passed in the Pittsburgh area.