May 19, 2012 in City

78-year-old pleads guilty in pot case

By The Spokesman-Review
 

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, Wash., 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, from which it was taken to Spokane and stored for distribution, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Agents found 700 pounds of pot when they searched Shields’ property in May 2009. 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 and three counts of failure to file income tax returns. He’s out of jail awaiting sentencing.

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 three years of probation.


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