Possible connections to someone he called a Mexican drug lord could thwart Gregory D. Jeffreys’ efforts to get out of jail.
Jeffreys, a Spokane real estate developer, is awaiting trial on charges he defrauded millions from investors.
Federal prosecutors cite Jeffreys’ “contact with Mexico, which is very concerning to us” in new legal documents filed to oppose his attempts to win pretrial release. The documents were filed Monday in response to Jeffreys’ appeal of U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno’s decision to hold him without bail.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean McLaughlin argued that Jeffreys remains a flight risk.
McLaughlin detailed an audio recording made last year in which Jeffreys claimed he sold an airplane to a Mexican drug lord, who flew to Spokane with $750,000 cash in a coffee bag.
“Law enforcement investigation has been able to begin corroborating this discussion,” McLaughlin wrote.
McLaughlin wrote that investigators have confirmed Jeffreys bought an airplane in October 1997 and sold it to a Mexican corporation some 18 months later.
The prosecutor advised U.S. District Court Judge Rosanna Peterson that additional information about the Mexican transaction could be provided to the court in private if necessary.
Peterson said she was not prepared to hear all the arguments and delayed that hearing at the request of defense attorney Mark Vovos until 9 a.m. on April 1.
Imbrogno earlier decided to hold Jeffreys without bail after he repeatedly tried to contact witnesses and co-defendants and uttered disparaging remarks on a tape-recorded call about an FBI agent, saying he would “bury” her.
The 73-count indictment filed earlier this year names Jeffreys and his wife, Kimberly Jeffreys, both 53, and his 51-year-old girlfriend, Shannon Stiltner.
All appeared in court Tuesday as Peterson agreed with a defense request – unopposed by McLaughlin – to postpone the trial until Jan. 6.
Kimberly Jeffreys faces 25 counts and Stiltner, 29 counts, of mostly wire, bank fraud and money laundering charges.
While Greg Jeffreys, who also faces a single count of possession of a sawed-off shotgun, was one of the key players in the complicated legal mess surrounding the Ridpath Hotel, those business dealings are not part of the current charges.
Authorities allege Jeffreys and Stiltner essentially operated a Ponzi scheme that relied on forged documents to solicit investments for several buildings in San Francisco, Coeur d’Alene, Denver and Mullan, Idaho, that didn’t exist.
Neither Stiltner nor Kimberly Jeffreys offered to comment as they separately left the courtroom.
As for earning a pretrial release, Vovos wrote in court documents that his client could agree to a list of demands to show that he is not a flight risk or a danger to others.
Regarding to Jeffreys’ recorded comment of his intention to “bury” FBI Agent Lisa Jangaard, Vovos said it was never a real threat. Vovos said his client’s comment was taken out of context and that he was talking to his son about burying Jangaard’s case.
“Like an elephant in the room, just mentioning an alleged threat to a case agent is distasteful and chilling,” Vovos wrote. “A poor choice of words, but not to any extent (especially a legal one) that would be considered a true threat because it was never communicated to the agent.”