A routine traffic stop by a Columbia County Deputy Sheriff has potentially uncovered a major fraud operation that possibly has international ties.
On Wednesday, January 17, a CCSO Deputy conducted a traffic stop on a car travelling on I75 for failing to maintain a single lane.
The driver produced a Brazilian identification card in the name of Eduardo Oliveira and indicated he did not speak English. The Deputy checked the local, state and federal computer databases, but was unable to confirm the driver’s identity.
The Deputy deployed his narcotic detection canine and conducted a walk-around of the car. The K9 alerted on the vehicle and the driver was detained. A subsequent search of the car produced drug paraphernalia, a large amount of cash, computer equipment, several hundred new and used credit cards, and equipment to produce credit cards.
A CCSO Fraud Detective responded and assumed the investigation. The driver was arrested on fraud charges and possession of drug paraphernalia and was booked into the Columbia County Detention Facility as John Doe.
As the investigation continued, CCSO identified the subject on Friday with assistance from federal agencies. The arrestee was Michel Muller, a Brazilian national, who also has a federal warrant out of Central Florida for credit card fraud.
The investigation continues with assistance from the Secret Service and Muller is being held for ICE.
Sheriff Mark Hunter stated, “This type of work makes our entire community proud of their Deputies. By being observant and following up with solid investigative work, hundreds of would be fraud victims have been spared”.