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Sirens & Gavels

Elderly man indicted in drug conspiracy

A 77-year-old man who lived near the Canadian border in Ferry County is accused of being a major drug trafficker.

Alvin O. Shields was allowed to leave the Spokane County Jail on Tuesday, where he was booked Sunday on federal cocaine and marijuana charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences of 5 to 10 years.

Shields will be on electronic home monitoring in Oregon, where he recently relocated, as he awaits trial.

The elderly man and his wife, Beverly Ann Shields, previously lived in Danville, Ferry County, where he is accused of participating in a drug-dealing conspiracy beginning in October 2003.

Shields also lived in Canada for 30 years, federal prosecutors said Tuesday at his bail hearing in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

Prosecutors didn't object to Shields being allowed to leave jail pending trial. In addition to home monitoring, he's to submit to random drugs tests and is prohibited from leaving the country or possessing guns and ammunition.

Shields used a hearing aid in court Tuesday; U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno turned up her microphone and spoke quite loudly.

The suspect is accused with unnamed co-conspirators of conspiring to distribute cocaine and marijuana.

He's charged with importation of 100 kilos or more of marijuana, two counts of conspiracy to import and export 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, and five counts of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified illegal activity for withdrawing large amounts of cash on several occasions.

Forfeiture charges also call for Shields to give up property at Fourth of July Creek Estates in Ferry County.

Another Danville resident, Harold Oscar Strandberg, was indicted last year after two Canadian pot smugglers, William Richard Paterson and Jahrum David Oakes, were arrested with large amounts of marijuana at Strandberg's Fourth of July Creek Road property.

Strandberg pleaded guilty in March and is on probation for three years.


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