"Oregon Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking, Financial, and Tax Crimes"
Spokane – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of
Washington announced that Alvin Oliver Shields, age 78, of Lebanon, Oregon, pleaded
guilty to six criminal counts by way of a plea agreement for illegal conduct relating to the
importation of marijuana from Canada and related financial and tax crimes.
On May 15, 2012, Shields entered pleas of guilty to: Conspiracy to Distribute 1,000
Kilograms or More of Marijuana dating back to 2003; Engaging in Monetary Transactions in
Property Derived from Specified Unlawful Activity (Money Laundering); Structuring
Financial Transactions to Avoid Reporting Requirements; and three charges of Failure to File
Income Tax Returns.
This investigation arose in 2003 when a Border Patrol agent encountered four individuals on
Fourth of July Creek Road near the Canadian border west of Danville, Washington. As the
agent approached the individuals, they ran into Canada. The agent thereafter discovered four
large duffel bags containing 64 kilograms of marijuana in the bushes where he had observed
the individuals. A short time later, the agent encountered Shields, who was driving slowly in
a van with the rear cargo doors propped open. At the time, Shields was living on property
located just south of the United States border with Canada. In 2008 the DEA, ICE, Border
Patrol, and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division conducted a joint investigation that
included Shields as a subject. The investigation led to evidence that Shields was allowing his
property to be used by drug traffickers in Canada to transport marijuana into the United
States. The marijuana was then transported to Spokane where it was stored for distribution to
other trafficking organizations in the United States. In May of 2009, agents seized 321kilograms of marijuana linked to Shields' property. The investigation also revealed that
Shields engaged in structured cash transactions and money laundering in order to conceal the
income that he was earning from the illegal enterprise. In addition, Shields failed to file a
federal income tax return for the 2005, 2006, and 2007 tax years.
The plea agreement anticipates that the United States and Shields will jointly recommend
that Shields serve a prison sentence with a range of 30 to 42 months. In addition, Shields
agreed to forfeit his interest in the Danville property that was used in the criminal enterprise.
A sentencing hearing has been set for August 9, 2012.
Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington stated:
"Investigations involving the integrity of the United States borders and federal income tax
violators are vigorously pursued in this District. Alvin Oliver Shields' guilty pleas are the
result of effective Federal, state, local and Canadian law enforcement partnerships."
This investigation included participation from the United States Drug Enforcement
Administration; ICE/Homeland Security Investigations; the Internal Revenue Service
Criminal Investigative Division; the United States Border Patrol; the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, and Firearms; the United States Customs and Border Protection/Office of Field
Operations; the United States Marshals Service; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the
Washington State Patrol; the Oregon State Patrol; and the Ferry and Stevens County Sheriff's
Offices. The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon also assisted in the
investigation. The case is being handled by Timothy J. Ohms, an Assistant United States
Attorney in the Eastern District of Washington.