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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Alvin Shields

Man, 78, sent to prison for pot dealing

A 78-year-old man who allowed drug traffickers to use his property just south of the Canadian border in Ferry County will spend 2 1/2 years in federal prison, a judge ruled Thursday.

Alvin Oliver Shields had 700 pounds of marijuana on his property when federal agents searched it in 2009. His lawyer, Jeffry Finer, said he retired from drug trafficking two years before a grand jury indicted him in September.

Shields and his wife live in Lebanon, Ore. His criminal history includes only a conviction for petty larceny in 1958.

Finer described him in court documents as a good humored man with poor hearing and early signs of dementia. He graduated high school in the 1950s but can't remember the year. He also couldn't initially remember the name of his first wife.

“Mr. Shields was ultimately able to provide it to Probation when he noticed it was tattooed on his left arm,” Finer wrote.

Prosecutors say Shields lived in Canada for 30 years. Federal agents began investigating Shields in 2003 after a Border Patrol agent found four duffel bags with 140 pounds of marijuana after four people ran from Fourth of July Creek Road, west of Danville, into Canada.

The agent then saw Shields “driving slowly in a van with the rear cargo doors propped open,” according to a plea agreement.

Then in 2008, a multi-agency investigation determined Shields was letting marijuana traffickers in Canada transport pot to his property, where it was then taken to Spokane and stored for distribution by U.S. drug traffickers.

Shields pleaded guilty in May to money laundering, structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements, conspiracy to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana (dating back to 2003) and three counts of failure to file income tax returns.

He was sentenced Thursday in Spokane by U.S. District Judge Rosanna Peterson to 30 months in prison followed by five years of probation. The court is recommending he be housed at the federal prison in Sheridan, Ore., to allow his wife, whom Finer described as “aged and unwell,” to visit.

Finer said a short incarceration period “will promote respect for the law and provide general deterrence to others who, like Mr. Shields, may find criminal opportunity in owning property alongside the border with Canada.”

Man w/ 700 lbs of pot pleads guilty

A 78-year-old man who allowed drug traffickers to use his property just south of the Canadian border in Ferry County has pleaded guilty.

Alvin Oliver Shields had 700 pounds of marijuana on his property when federal agents searched it in 2009. Now he faces 30 to 42 months in prison under a plea agreement approved this week in U.S. District Court in Spokane. He's to be sentenced on Aug. 9.

Federal agents began investigating Shields in 2003 after a Border Patrol agent found four duffel bags with 140 pounds of marijuana after four people ran from Fourth of July Creek Road, west of Danville, into Canada.
The agent then saw Shields “driving slowly in a van with the rear cargo doors propped open,” according to a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court.

Then in 2008, a multi-agency investigation determined Shields was letting marijuana traffickers in Canada transport the pot to his property, where it was then taken to Spokane and stored for distribution by U.S. drug traffickers, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Along with 700 pounds of pot, agents found evidence of hidden cash transactions and money laundering when they searched Shields' property in May 2009. They also learned Shields hadn't filed federal income tax returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Shields, who prosecutors said lived in Canada for 30 years, has since moved to Lebanon, Ore.

He pleaded guilty Tuesday in Spokane to money laundering, structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements, conspiracy to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana (dating back to 2003) and three counts of failure to file income tax returns. He's out jail awaiting sentencing.

“Investigations involving the integrity of the United States borders and federal income tax violators are vigorously pursued in this District,” according to a prepared statement by Michael Ormsby, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. “Alvin Oliver Shields’ guilty pleas are the result of effective Federal, state, local and Canadian law enforcement partnerships.”

Another Danville resident, Harold Oscar Strandberg, was indicted in 2010 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 2011 and is on probation for three years.

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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