U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
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News Releases
Cottage Grove Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Charges After Hash Oil Explosion - 11/15/18

EUGENE, Ore. – Eric L. Scully, 35, of Cottage Grove, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to endangering human life and illegally possessing and manufacturing marijuana after a November 2017 butane honey oil (BHO) explosion in Cottage Grove.

“Manufacturing hash oil is extremely dangerous and poses a grave risk of injury or death to producers and unknowing, innocent victims. Federal authorities will continue targeting BHO producers and the illicit distribution networks providing them with butane gas. Together with our local partners, we will put an end to this severe public safety threat,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

“This investigation highlights the significant dangers that these extraction operations pose,” stated Keith Weis, DEA Special Agent in Charge of the Pacific Northwest Region. He further added, “This explosive event in Cottage Grove’s community was caused by highly reckless criminal activities surrounding butane honey oil (BHO) production, this time we were very lucky that lives were not lost.”

According to court documents, on November 16, 2017, the Cottage Grove Police and Fire Departments responded to an explosion at a storage facility in Cottage Grove. Officers found Scully at a local hospital where he was being treated for serious burn injuries. Investigators later learned that, at the time of the explosion, at least three other individuals were inside the facility.

Two days later, Cottage Grove Police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents executed a search warrant at the storage facility. Inside, they found a large, sophisticated, and unlicensed BHO extraction lab. BHO is a concentrated form of marijuana extracted using highly flammable or combustible solvents. During the search, agents found more than 1,900 pounds of marijuana bud and shake, 728 marijuana plants and over 80 pounds of marijuana extract. Each plant was either mature or had leaves and readily observable root formation.

The investigation determined that while manufacturing BHO, one of Scully’s machines, located in a room containing combustibles, caught fire. The machine and combustibles exploded, injuring Scully and placing the other individuals present at substantial risk of harm.

Scully faces up to 40 years in prison with a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, a $5 million fine and a mandatory four-year term of supervised release. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and defense counsel are jointly recommending a non-binding, 87-month sentence for Scully who will be sentenced on February 21, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

As part of the plea agreement, Scully agrees to pay restitution to each victim as determined by the court, including payments for property damage, physical injuries caused by the explosion and the reimbursement of insurance companies. Scully also agreed to forfeit $25,980 in criminal proceeds and a pickup truck and trailer used to facilitate his crimes.

This case was investigated by DEA and the Cottage Grove Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: CHANGE_OF_PLEA-Scully-Final.pdf
Tualatin, Oregon Man Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering - 11/13/18

Update (11/14): Added restitution and forfeiture figures and co-counsel.

PORTLAND, Ore.—Ronald Eugene Stover, 64, of Tualatin, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to one count of engaging in monetary transactions in property criminally derived from wire fraud and a scheme to defraud investors.

According to court documents, beginning in 2010, Stover began soliciting short-term loan investments to fund various Xtreme Iron capital projects. Stover claimed to have a long track records of success in real estate development, business and banking and relied heavily on investor introductions made by other professional intermediaries to establish his credibility. Xtreme Iron owned a heavily-leveraged fleet of Caterpillar and John Deere heavy equipment in Frisco, Texas and maintained an office in Wilsonville, Oregon.

At Stover’s urging, investors sent funds to Tri-Core Funding Group, an entity wholly owned and controlled by Stover. Stover falsely claimed the company had a sound business model, strong growth opportunities and manageable debt exposure. In addition to Stover’s many false claims about the business’s health and viability, he advanced many falsehoods about the nature of the investment opportunity including, but not limited to: investor funds would be used exclusively for business purposes, Stover himself would provide additional capital sourcing from his own funds and investors would receive short-term repayment of their loan notes plus interest.

As alleged in the count of conviction, Stover emailed a victim in May 2012, soliciting funds to purchase heavy equipment from Caterpillar. In response to the solicitation, Stover executed a 30-day loan note promising repayment plus interest. The victim wired $175,000 to Tri-Core Funding Group the next day. Unbeknownst to the victim, Stover never intended to use the money as promised. Immediately after receiving the funds, Stover used the funds to make over a year’s worth of mortgage payments on his residence in Tualatin, which was on the brink of foreclosure. Stover never repaid his victim.

Stover faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on February 25, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken. As part of the plea agreement, Stover has agreed to pay more than $3.2 million in restitution and nearly $169,000 to satisfy a forfeiture money judgement.

The IRS and FBI investigated this case. It is being prosecuted by Donna Brecker Maddux and Julia E. Jarrett, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Otis, Oregon Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Child Pornography Using Dropbox - 11/13/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – William Borges, 20, of Otis, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to one count of distributing child pornography.

According to court documents, investigators identified Borges in September 2016 as part of an ongoing investigation by the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office into the use of Dropbox, a cloud-based file sharing application, to distribute media depicting the sexual exploitation of children. A federal search warrant issued to Dropbox produced the email address Borges used to create a Dropbox account identified by investigators as containing child pornography. Investigators later matched three video uploads to Dropbox depicting the sexual abuse of young children to the IP address of Borges’ home in Otis. During a search of Borges’ home, he admitted to possessing child pornography and trading images and videos using Kik Messenger and Dropbox.

Borges faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime term of supervised release. He will be sentenced on February 11, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken.

The FBI Sacramento Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF) and FBI Salem Resident Agency investigated this case. It is being prosecuted by Amy Potter, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The FBI’s CETF conducts sexual exploitation investigations—many of them undercover—in coordination with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The CETF is committed to locating and arresting those who prey on children as well as recovering underage victims of sex trafficking and child exploitation.

Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at www.fbi.gov/tips.

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Attached Media Files: CHANGE_OF_PLEA-Borges-Final.pdf
Opioid Prosecutions Lead to Seizure of Three Million User Doses of Heroin, Oxycodone and Fentanyl Across Oregon - 11/08/18

Narcotic seizures are among the largest in District of Oregon history

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that since the beginning of May 2018, federal law enforcement authorities and their task force partners have prosecuted cases resulting in the seizure of 158 pounds of heroin, 600 grams of oxycodone, and half a pound of fentanyl.

Combined, the seizures remove nearly three million individual user doses from statewide distribution networks. The enforcement effort has already netted 19 arrests, 17 guilty pleas and nine criminal sentencings of active drug traffickers with numerous cases still pending.

“The opioid addiction crisis continues to impact millions of Americans every year, many of whom have lost loved ones or continue to watch as their friends or family members struggle with addiction,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Bringing this crisis to an end requires all Americans—law enforcement and public health officials as well as ordinary citizens—to take action. Visit www.linesforlife.org or another addiction support organization to learn how you can make a difference in your community.”

“The numbers are heart wrenching,” said Keith Weis, DEA Special Agent in Charge for the Pacific Northwest. “In a time of unprecedented health risks facing our society, we must respond aggressively head-on in a multi-faceted, community-based strategy that includes law enforcement, prevention and treatment specialists all working hand in hand to help our most vulnerable members facing life or death struggles against addiction. Every person lost in this opioid crisis is one too many.”

“Opioid abuse in Oregon involves a dangerous cocktail of street drugs (such as heroin and fentanyl) and prescription meds (such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine). Whether a person starts down the path to addiction on the street or in a doctor's office, the result is equally devastating to the victim's family and community. Because the impact is so significant, the FBI and our partners are prioritizing our work to identify the dealers and doctors who are driving this epidemic,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdoses killed a record 72,000 Americans in 2017. In 2016, 66% of the more than 66,000 overdose deaths involved an opioid. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2017, the CDC estimated the national economic burden of prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence at $78.5 billion annually.

In Oregon, the total number of deaths related to drug use increased 11 percent from 2013 to 2017, with 546 drug related deaths in 2017 alone. The use of prescription opioids in Oregon continues to grow dramatically. Nearly half of the prescriptions filled at Oregon retail pharmacies in 2017 were for opioids. As a result, Oregon has one of the highest rates of prescription opioid misuse in the country, with an average of three deaths every week from prescription opioid overdose.

On November 2, 2018, DEA released its 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment. The report paints a bleak picture of the state of drug abuse in the U.S. According to the report, controlled prescription drugs are responsible for the largest number of overdose deaths of any illicit drug class and have been since 2011. Between 2013 and 2016, heroin deaths nearly doubled, exacerbated by the increased adulteration of heroin with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Of all opioids, the abuse of illicit fentanyl and other synthetic opioids has led to the greatest number of deaths.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon works in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute drug trafficking cases involving opioids. Recent prosecutions include:

U.S. v. Brett Allen McNeal

Brett Allen McNeal was the final Oregon defendant sentenced for distributing oxycodone as part of a large, interstate opioid-trafficking organization. He was sentenced to three months in federal prison on October 2, 2018.

The organization was structured around Daniel Cham, a doctor practicing in La Puente, California, who would illegally provide prescriptions for oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other powerful medications in exchange money orders and cash. The narcotics were moved from Southern California through a network of redistributors for eventual sale in Oregon.

Cham would write prescriptions to individuals both known and unknown to him and to others he knew to be prolific drug dealers and addicts. He regularly sold prescriptions to John Bryden, an Oregon resident, who in turn would sell them to other co-conspirators, including Kevin Grimes, Marcela Cooper, and Austin Alderete, for distribution across Oregon.

McNeal purchased oxycodone from Alderete and sold it for a profit to end users. One of those end users, Jessica Morretti, died of an overdose on April 13, 2012. According to text messages on Moretti’s cell phone from the evening she overdosed, McNeal had provided her with five 30mg oxycodone pills the same day.

Cham was sentenced on March 14, 2018 in the Central District of California to more than 13 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the FBI.

Read More

U.S. v. Christian Jensel Chaidez

Christian Jensel Chaidez was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison on September 4, 2018 for trafficking heroin and other narcotics into Oregon for distribution in the Salem, Oregon metropolitan area. Chaidez was a local affiliate of a Los Angeles, California-based drug trafficking network.

Using intercepted wire calls, investigators learned that a co-defendant would provide Chaidez with quantities of heroin that Chaidez would, in turn, sell in and around Salem. In November and December 2016 investigators used an undercover informant to purchase one half pound of methamphetamine from Chaidez on two different occasions.

By June 2017, when federal prosecutors unsealed a 12-person indictment, the network, which began primarily as a methamphetamine and cocaine distribution organization, was rapidly expanding into the heroin market. The arrests of Chaidez and others have significantly disrupted the distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, and other narcotics in the Salem area.

This case was investigated by DEA.

Read More

U.S. v. Christopher James Fleet

On September 4, 2018, Christopher James Fleet, 23, of Portland, was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release for possessing distribution quantities of methamphetamine and two firearms.

On August 23, 2017, deputies from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Special Investigation Unit were conducting surveillance at a known drug and gang house in Portland. They observed a vehicle parked in front of the house they believed was connected with Fleet, a drug dealer with an outstanding arrest warrant. Upon leaving the house and attempting to drive away, deputies blocked Fleet using unmarked vehicles and approached him wearing marked law enforcement raid vests. After initially refusing to comply with the deputy’s commands to raise his hands and failing to find an escape route, Fleet surrendered.

During the arrest, deputies found a Kel Tec 9mm firearm and distribution quantities of heroin and methamphetamine on Fleet’s person. They also found a locked backpack in Fleet’s vehicle. The backpack was later found to contain .40 caliber Sig Sauer pistol, drug records, and a digital scale.

This case was investigated by the MCSO Special Investigation Unit.

Read More

The Department of Justice has been resolute in its fight to end the opioid addiction crisis. All 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices have an opioid action plan with strategies specific to their districts. The department has assigned more than 300 federal prosecutors to U.S. Attorney’s Offices and hired more than 400 DEA task force officers.

In July 2018, the department announced the formation of Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (S.O.S) that seeks to reduce the supply of deadly synthetic opioids in high impact areas. In August 2018, the department and DEA proposed decreases in manufacturing quotas for the six most frequently misused opioids for 2019. In October 2018, the department announced grant awards totaling more than $320 million dollars to help those most impacted by the opioid crisis including crime victims, children, families and first responders.

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Deputy Attorney General Names U.S. Attorney Williams Chair of National Marijuana Working Group - 11/07/18

WASHINGTON—Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein today named Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, chair of the Attorney General’s Marijuana Working Group. The working group is part of the Attorney General Advisory Committee’s (AGAC) Controlled Substances Subcommittee.

“I am honored to be named chair of the Marijuana Working Group and look forward to working with Attorney General Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and my fellow U.S. Attorneys on this important policy area,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “From our statewide summit in February to the release of our district enforcement strategy this summer, we’ve learned a lot from stakeholders representing many diverse interests. There is one thing everyone agrees on: a broad need for stronger regulation. This working group provides a valuable forum for sharing ideas and learning from the experiences of others in an effort to develop innovative, multi-district enforcement strategies to address the many impacts of a nascent industry.”

The AGAC was created in 1973 and reports to the Attorney General through the Deputy Attorney General. The AGAC represents the nation’s U.S. Attorneys and provides advice and counsel to the Attorney General on matters of policy, procedure, and management impacting the Offices of the U.S. Attorneys.

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Corvallis Attorney Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion and Money Laundering - 11/06/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Pamela S. Hediger, 55, of Corvallis, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to one count each of attempting to evade or defeat taxes and engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity.

“Pamela Hediger used her position of trust to steal large sums of money from her business associates, clients and investors. Her lavish lifestyle and spending reflected her complete disregard for the interests of those she stole from,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Not only did Hediger steal from those she knew, she stole from the U.S. Treasury and her fellow citizens by shamelessly evading her tax obligations.”

“No matter what the source of income, including embezzlement, all income is taxable,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Acting Special Agent in Charge Troy Burrus. “Pamela Hediger’s failure to file income tax returns and evading her tax liability is not a victimless crime since all Americans pay when others swindle the government.”

According to court documents, between 2010 and 2017, Hediger was an attorney, president, and managing shareholder of a law firm in Corvallis. Hediger focused on personal injury cases and independently managed her own client relationships. During her association with the firm, Hediger systematically embezzled funds from the firm’s client trust and business operating accounts, both of which she had signing authority over. The embezzled funds came from insurance proceeds payable to Hediger’s clients.

During 2011, 2012, and 2014, Hediger also knowingly devised a material scheme to defraud two investors in shopping center projects in Seaside, Oregon and Astoria, Oregon. Hediger falsely promised high rates of return and short terms in exchange for their investments. Rather than invest the money as promised, Hediger converted the investment funds to her own use in order to support her lavish lifestyle.

Hediger used the stolen funds for a variety of purposes, including: to pay her mortgage, to fund construction and landscaping projects at her home, to repay individuals who had loaned her money to purchase her share of the law firm and to fund lavish vacations, a timeshare, plastic surgery, automobile expenses and a Hawaiian band for a party. Stolen funds were even used to pay credit card accounts Hediger had opened in the names of relatives and an unsuspecting associate.

To conceal her schemes, Hediger falsified the law firm’s accounting records by mischaracterizing the identity of payees and the purpose of payments, submitted false documentation to support the expenditures and lied to firm employees when questioned about expenditures.

Hediger failed to file income tax returns on nearly $2.2 million between 2011 and 2017, evading more than $471,000 in taxes due.

Hediger faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, a $500,000 fine and three years of supervised release. She will be sentenced on January 10, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown.

This case was investigated by IRS-CI. It is being prosecuted by Claire M. Fay, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: CHANGE_OF_PLEA-Hediger-Final.pdf
Talent, Oregon Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Trading Cocaine for Firearms - 10/30/18

MEDFORD, Ore. – On Monday, October 29, 2018, Jonathan Alan Ochoa, 31, of Talent, Oregon, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

According to court documents, between July and August 2017, Ochoa agreed and conspired with co-defendants Gonzalo Manzo, Jr. and Rodolfo Quevedo to send more than 500 grams of cocaine from California to Oregon to sell and distribute to others. During this time, Ochoa and Manzo negotiated a sale of cocaine with an undercover agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in exchange for multiple firearms.

On August 17, 2017, at Manzo’s request, Quevedo transported approximately 1000 grams of cocaine from California and delivered it to Ochoa in the Medford area. The firearms and cash were intended to be transported back to California but agents arrested Ochoa and his co-conspirators and the firearms were seized by law enforcement.

Ochoa faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, a $5 million fine and four years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on February 21, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken. Manzo pleaded guilty to the same charges on August 27, 2018. Quevedo also faces criminal charges; his case is pending in federal court.

This case was investigated by ATF and is being prosecuted by Nathan J. Lichvarcik and Adam E. Delph, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

The case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

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Attached Media Files: CHANGE_OF_PLEA-Ochoa-Final.pdf
U.S. Attorney Williams Announces November 2018 Election Day Program and Appoints District Election Officer - 10/30/18

PORTLAND, Ore.—United States Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Adrian L. Brown will lead the efforts of his office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6, 2018 election.

AUSA Brown has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the District of Oregon, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.

“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted without being stolen because of fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process. Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the cooperation of the American electorate,” continued Williams. “It is imperative that those who have specific information about discrimination or election fraud make that information available immediately to my office, the FBI, or the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.”

The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur. The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals, and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open on Election Day.

Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. It also contains special protections for the rights of voters, and provides that they can vote free from acts that intimidate or harass them. For example, actions of persons designed to interrupt or intimidate voters at ballot drop boxes by questioning or challenging them, or by photographing or videotaping them, under the pretext that these are actions to uncover illegal voting may violate federal voting rights law. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy).

The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice. In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on November 6, 2018, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, AUSA/DEO Brown will be on duty in the District of Oregon while the polls are open. She can be reached by the public at the following telephone number: 503-727-1003.

In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in each field office and resident agency throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on Election Day. The local FBI field office can be reached by the public at 503-224-4181.

Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can also be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington, DC by phone at 1-800-253-3931 or (202) 307-2767, by fax at (202) 307-3961, by email to voting.section@usdoj.gov or by complaint form at http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.

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Justice Department Funds New District of Oregon Indian Country Prosecutor - 10/25/18

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) to Focus on Prosecutions Involving the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

WASHINGTON—In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with Acting Director of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Katherine Sullivan and other senior Justice officials today to discuss the Violence Against Women Act’s (VAWA) essential focus on criminal justice responses to domestic violence.  Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein also announced new OVW funding for the department’s Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) program.

“There is no place in our society for domestic violence, and holding perpetrators accountable and providing services to victims is a critical part of the Department’s response,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “During this National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I encourage law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and other criminal justice professionals to speak out about domestic violence and redouble efforts to bring perpetrators to justice.  I am especially pleased to announce new funding to support four new Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, whose collaboration across the tribal and federal jurisdictional landscape is a model for effective prosecution of violence against women.”

“We are pleased to join Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in announcing the appointment of a new Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney here in Oregon,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Pursuing justice on behalf of tribal communities is a priority for our office and has been for a long time. We are deeply committed to continuing to work with our tribal law enforcement partners to reduce violent crime in tribal communities, especially crimes against tribal women. We fully expect this position will show positive and meaningful results for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.”

OVW’s Tribal Special Assistant United States Attorneys (Tribal SAUSAs) Program is another Department initiative supporting innovative prosecutorial collaborations. These prosecutors bring cases in both tribal and federal courts, and help ensure that tribal and federal authorities have a seamless response in prosecuting cases under their jurisdiction. In OVW’s pilot project, Tribal SAUSAs reported a wide range of successes, including prosecution of cases that otherwise may not have been brought.

Today, OVW is announcing new Tribal SAUSA Program awards of $437,500 each to the following four tribes:

•           Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (Arizona);

•           Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (Oregon);

•           Rosebud Sioux Tribe (South Dakota); and

•           Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Washington).

Commemorated in the United States since 1987, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month educates the public, commemorates and honors victims and survivors, and connects service providers across the country. President Trump has continued the tradition of issuing a presidential proclamation to recognize October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Strengthening criminal justice is the core component of VAWA, and Acting Director Sullivan pointed to the Improving the Criminal Justice Response to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Program (ICJR) as the “backbone of VAWA.” ICJR helps communities investigate and prosecute these crimes and keep violent criminals off the street. Since 1997, OVW has made 1,655 ICJR grant awards totaling over $847,000,000. In fiscal year 2018, OVW made 54 ICJR awards totaling $32,610,116.

This funding has supported justice responses including dedicated police and prosecution units, specialized courts, and offender monitoring in 538 communities. For example, Fairfax County in Virginia uses ICJR funding to support a specialized prosecutor for domestic violence and stalking cases and to monitor the enforcement of civil protective orders.

ICJR also funds unique collaborative approaches, such as Family Justice Centers – “one stop shops” housing police, prosecution, and victim services in one place – and multidisciplinary teams that decrease domestic violence homicides. Since 2012 OVW has awarded over $24 million in ICJR funding to reduce domestic violence homicide, including pilot sites, nationwide training, and research. This includes six awards totaling $3,299,977 for fiscal year 2018.

Many victims also face substance abuse issues, and may struggle to access the justice system and get the protection they need. OVW is today announcing an award of $450,000 to the Alliance for HOPE International to train Family Justice Centers to address this complex challenge. The Alliance for HOPE International will partner with the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health.

VAWA was first authorized in 1994 and focused on strengthening the criminal justice response to domestic violence. VAWA was reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and 2013, and each reauthorization included expansions such as addressing elder abuse, combatting stalking, and serving victims of sex trafficking in Indian Country. More information about VAWA is available at www.justice.gov/ovw/legislation.

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22 Indicted in Operation Targeting Drug Trafficking Organization Tied to Cartel in Michoacan, Mexico - 10/24/18

PORTLAND, Ore.—Today, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon unsealed a nine count indictment charging drug trafficking offenses against 22 members of a criminal organization responsible for trafficking large quantities of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine in Oregon and Washington State.

Early this morning, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI – U.S. Department of Homeland Security), the Westside Interagency Narcotics (WIN) Task Force and the Clackamas County Interagency Task Force (CCITF) conducted a multi-agency law enforcement operation leading to the arrest of 17 defendants.

According to the unsealed indictment, a drug cartel based in Michoacan, Mexico distributed methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine to Victor Alvarez Farfan, 43, of Oregon City, Oregon. Farfan and his associates manufactured crystal methamphetamine from liquid form and distributed it to other members of the conspiracy for sale in Hillsboro, Gresham, Portland and Hood River, Oregon, and Tacoma, Washington. Farfan and his associates also distributed heroin and cocaine in the Portland-metro area. John Armas, 41, of Hillsboro, distributed methamphetamine he received from Farfan via a local distribution cell in the Hillsboro area.

“While our country suffers from the effects of pervasive substance abuse, Mexican drug trafficking cartels continue bringing deadly narcotics into our communities. Stopping these transnational organizations requires steadfast and responsive law enforcement partnerships at all levels of government,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Today, thanks to the vigilance and sustained cooperation of law enforcement agencies across Oregon, this cartel’s efforts to maintain their foothold in our communities has been dealt a lasting blow. We will continue pursuing criminal drug traffickers and ensure their actions are met with severe consequences.”

“Meth, heroin and cocaine combine to form a deadly cocktail that fuels a cycle of violence and addiction in our community,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “The FBI and our partners are targeting the power players in these drug trafficking organizations as we work to reduce the flow of guns, drugs and dirty money into Oregon.”

“I commend the collaborative efforts by all of those involved in this important operation,” said Brad Bench, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Seattle. “HSI is committed to dismantling these types of illicit drug trafficking organizations and bringing those involved to justice.”

“We are unrelenting in our work to stop illegal drug traffickers,” said Pat Garrett, Washington County Sheriff. “The teamwork displayed—local, federal and across state lines—makes me thankful for the strong partnerships we have in public safety.”

“This is another clear example of public safety working together to make a difference at every level—city, county, state and federal agencies,” said Craig Roberts, Clackamas County Sheriff. “I can attest that countless front line officers have been working around the clock to hold major drug traffickers accountable for their criminal activities. Our united message is: “don’t bring this to Oregon or we in law enforcement will soon be knocking on your door.”

The nine-count indictment unsealed today alleges members of the organization conspired to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine; use a communication facility, including cellular telephones, in the commission of a controlled substances felony; and maintain drug-involved premises to manufacture and distribute controlled substances. Other charges include the interstate distribution of drug proceeds and money laundering.

Named defendants include:

  • Victor Alvarez Farfan is charged with conspiracy, two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and conspiracy to commit the laundering of monetary instruments.
  • John Armas is charged with conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and conspiracy to commit the laundering of monetary instruments.
  • Silverio Rubio Valdovinos, 35, of Gresham, is charged with conspiracy.
  • Eduardo Alvarez Farfan, 24, of Gresham, is charged with conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and conspiracy to commit the laundering of monetary instruments.
  • Roberto Carlos Farfan Alvarez, 23, of Oregon City, is charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
  • Genaro Fernandez Gonzalez, 26, of Salem, Oregon, is charged with conspiracy.
  • Randy Eugene Roberts, 51, of Hillsboro, is charged with conspiracy.
  • Kathleen Joan Roberts, 53, of Hillsboro, is charged with conspiracy.
  • Socorro Elena Gutierrez, 38, of Hillsboro, is charged with conspiracy.
  • Taylor Michael McKemie, 55, of Hillsboro, is charged with conspiracy and conspiracy to commit the laundering of monetary instruments.
  • Keith Frederick Teufel, 59, of Hillsboro, is charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
  • Randall Deal Mauel, 47, of Chehalis, Washington, is charged with conspiracy.
  • Rene Diaz Gutierrez, 36, of Vancouver, Washington, is charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
  • Catherine Arlene Cunningham, 51, of Hood River, is charged with conspiracy.
  • Kirstie Alexandria Mirelez, 27, of Portland, is charged with conspiracy.
  • Jessica Marie Stinnett, 39, of Astoria, Oregon, is charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
  • Athena Marie Johnson, 48, of Hillsboro, is charged with conspiracy.

15 of the 22 defendants were arraigned in federal court today. The identities of the five remaining defendants remain under seal. All defendants are expected to make their first appearances within one week.

This case is the result of a joint investigation by FBI, HSI, WIN, and CCITF. WIN includes representatives from the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the Beaverton Police Department, the Hillsboro Police Department, the Tigard Police Department, the Oregon National Guard Counterdrug Program, and the FBI. CCITF includes representatives from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, Clackamas County Community Corrections, Oregon City Police Department, Canby Police Department, the FBI and DHS/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Other agencies assisting with today's takedown include: Oregon State Police, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Clatsop County Sheriff's Office, the Hood River County Sheriff's Office, the Gresham Police Department, the Salem Police Department, the Port of Portland Police Department, the Portland Police Bureau and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

This case was brought as part of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the department’s strategy for reducing the availability of drugs in the U.S. OCDETF was established in 1982 to mount a comprehensive attack on drug trafficking by disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in coordination with state and local law enforcement.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Seattle Man Given Federal Prison Sentence for Fraud Involving Former Oregon Department of Energy Employee - 10/23/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Martin J. Shain, 61, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today to 46 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for engaging in a fraud scheme with a former Oregon Department of Energy Employee. Shain was also ordered to pay more than $520,000 in restitution.

“At the expense of taxpayers, small businesses, and the State of Oregon, Martin Shain and Joseph Colello orchestrated a corrupt scheme to profit off the sale of government tax credits. Corruption schemes involving public employees foster a distrust in government that can take years to restore,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

“Mr. Shain undermined the process of fair and open competition when he paid kickbacks in exchange for ODOE tax credit sales,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Darrell Waldon. “IRS-Criminal Investigation is committed to investigating individuals who engage in corruption and tax fraud.”

“Treating a government program as a personal ATM risks the integrity of all public servants who have responsibility for protecting Oregon's resources. The fight against public corruption is a high priority for the FBI, and we look to the public to help us identify those government officials who are taking advantage of their powers and positions," said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.

According to court documents, between June 2012 and March 2015, Shain and Joseph Colello, a former employee of the Oregon Department of Energy’s (ODOE) Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program, maintained a secret business relationship whereby the two would personally profit from the sale and purchase of Oregon BETCs.

Shain and Colello devised a plan whereby Colello would give Shain the names of BETC sellers and interested buyers—information he had access to as an ODOE employee. Colello would then contact the sellers and buyers to negotiate credit transfers, but made it appear as though the Shain had brokered the deals. Shain created a company in the name of his relative in order to receive commission payments from the sellers of the tax credits and to conceal their earned income from the IRS. Shain charged sellers a 1-2% fee, undercutting brokers who typically charged a 10% fee for facilitating similar transfers. Colello would receive a portion of this fee as a kickback.

Between 2012 and 2015, Shain deposited over $1.3 million in income from the commissions charged to sellers of BETC credits. He would transfer a portion of these funds into a personal account from which he would purchase and issue biweekly cashier’s checks payable to Colello. Over the course of the conspiracy, Shain purchased and issued approximately 58 cashier’s checks to Colello or Colello’s girlfriend. In total, Colello received more than $300,000 in bribe payments for his role in the scheme. Shain failed to report more than $1.34 million in income received brokering tax credit sales on four income tax returns between 2012 and 2015.

Colello pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions in property derived from specific unlawful activity, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and one count of filing a false income tax return on March 15, 2018. On April 3, 2018, he was sentenced to 60 months in prison and was ordered to pay more than $81,000 in restitution.

Shain previously pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and tax evasion on June 20, 2018. He will self-surrender to the U.S. Marshals on October 25, 2018.

The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI and prosecuted by Claire M. Fay and Scott E. Bradford, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Shain-Final.pdf
Retired Lawyer Indicted for Tax Evasion and Making a False Statement - 10/22/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – On October 16, 2018, a federal grand jury in Portland charged retired attorney Bruce L. Lamon, of Hillsboro, Oregon, with evading $744,000 in personal income taxes.

Lamon is charged in a two-count indictment alleging he evaded payment of his taxes for calendar years 2008 through 2013 and failed to disclose rental income in an application to proceed In Forma Pauperis in a civil case he filed in federal court in 2016.

Between 2006 and 2012, Lamon worked as a commercial litigator at a law firm in Honolulu, Hawaii. Lamon retired in 2012 and moved to Hillsboro. Between November 2012 and December 2015, in the District of Oregon, Lamon is alleged to have committed numerous affirmative acts to evade his tax obligations. These acts include but are not limited to titling vehicles in his former spouse’s name and purchasing rental properties with cash using an LLC registered in Hawaii to conceal these assets from the IRS.

This case is being investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and prosecuted by Seth D. Uram, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Attached Media Files: INDICTMENT-Lamon-Final.pdf