News and Press Releases

"Alvin Oliver Shields Sentenced for Drug Trafficking, Financial, and Tax Crimes"

August 9, 2012

Spokane –Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington announced that, on August 9, 2012, Alvin Oliver Shields, age 78, of Lebanon, Oregon, was sentenced on six criminal counts for illegal conduct relating to the importation of marijuana from Canada and related financial and tax crimes. Shields was sentenced based on his earlier guilty pleas to: Conspiracy to Distribute 1000 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.

United States Federal District Court Chief Judge Peterson sentenced Shields to 30 months in federal prison to be followed by five years of supervised release upon his release from prison. Shields was ordered to pay Federal income taxes for the 2005, 2006, and 2007 tax years and to forfeit his interest in a Danville, Washington property that was used in the criminal enterprise.

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 IRS Criminal Investigation 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 to Spokane where it was stored for distribution to other trafficking organizations in the United States. In May of 2009, agents seized 321 kilograms 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 from the IRS 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.

Michael C. Ormsby stated: "Alvin Oliver Shields' sentence is the culmination of effective Federal, state, local and Canadian law enforcement partnerships. The sentence reflects the United States Attorneys Office's commitment to prosecute vigorously cases involving the integrity of the United States borders and federal income tax violators here in the Eastern District of Washington."

This investigation included participation from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration; ICE/Homeland Security Investigations; the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; 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.


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