U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
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News Releases
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Portland Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Federal Prison For Armed Bank Robbery (Photo) - 08/14/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Jesse Lee Brockner, 32, of Portland, was sentenced today to 120 months in federal prison for armed bank robbery and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Upon completion of his prison sentence, Brockner will be on supervised release for three years.

According to court records, on August 30, 2017, three men burglarized a barn in Yamhill County, Oregon, stealing the victim’s vehicle. Two of the suspects fled in the moving truck and a third in the victim’s vehicle. After Yamhill County Sheriff deputies located, arrested and interviewed the two suspects who fled in the moving truck, they identified Brockner as the third suspect. During a search of the moving truck, deputies found a backpack containing approximately $4,000, drug paraphernalia, and Brockner’s driver’s license.

Later the same morning, Brockner robbed a U.S. Bank branch in Beaverton, Oregon wearing a welding mask and holding a firearm. While executing the robbery, Brockner made numerous threats of physical violence and pointed a handgun at the victim teller. A witness observed Brockner walk through a parking lot adjacent to the bank and enter a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle stolen earlier that morning from the barn in Yamhill County.

Approximately two hours later, an FBI Task Force Officer with the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) observed a vehicle matching the description of the stolen vehicle on the 3900 block of SE Powell Boulevard in Portland. After confirming Brockner’s identity, multiple marked PPB patrol units responded to assist the Task Force Officer. A high risk traffic stop was attempted and led to a vehicle pursuit. The pursuit ended in a crash and an officer involved shooting at NE 55th Avenue between East Burnside Street and NE Couch Street in Portland. Brockner was arrested and transported to Legacy Emanuel Hospital to receive medical attention.           

Brockner previously pleaded guilty to one count of armed bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a) and (d) and one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) on May 2, 2018.

This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Craig Gabriel, Benjamin Tolkoff and John Brassell, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

The case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

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Portland Man Sentenced To Home Detention, Probation For Hoax Bomb Threat On Max Train - 08/14/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Wilfredo Reyes, 60, of Portland, was sentenced today to three years’ probation including eight months of home detention for falsely reporting a suspicious package on a TriMet MAX train.

According to court records, on June 9, 2017, Reyes called 9-1-1 to report a suspicious package with protruding wires on a MAX train in Portland. During the call, he intentionally conveyed false and misleading information that led the Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications and local law enforcement to believe an explosive had been planted on the MAX train. TriMet police and more than 40 officers from multiple agencies responded to the scene. The Metropolitan Explosive Disposal Unit rendered the device safe and concluded that it did not contain a bomb.

Surveillance cameras revealed that Reyes boarded the train with a backpack, placed it in a seat, walked to another part of the train, and then proceeded to call 9-1-1. He was interviewed by officers at the scene and initially denied being the caller. After the backpack was determined not to contain a bomb, officers found items in it with Reyes's name on them. He was arrested and admitted to owning the backpack and arranging the contents to look like a bomb.

Reyes’ conduct caused a substantial disruption to multiple law enforcement agencies and local businesses. Two business near the Hollywood/NE 42nd Avenue MAX station were evacuated. The station, several streets, and the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 were closed during the investigation.      

Reyes previously pleaded guilty to one count of conveying a hoax bomb threat in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1038(a) on April 26, 2018.

The Portland FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated this case in coordination with its first response partners Portland Police Bureau, Portland Fire and Rescue and TriMet. The case was prosecuted by Hannah Horsley, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Reyes-Final.pdf
Jury Delivers Verdicts in Trial of FBI Special Agent - 08/10/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – A federal jury today acquitted W. Joseph Astarita, a member of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) based in Quantico, Virginia, on charges of making false statements and obstruction of justice.

“We thank the jury for their dedicated service and for giving full consideration to an important case. We strongly believe this case needed to be brought before the court and decided by a jury,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Our system of justice relies on the absolute integrity of law enforcement officials at all levels of government.”

“The OIG respects the jury’s verdict. We will continue to investigate allegations of misconduct by Department of Justice employees to ensure the integrity of our law enforcement components,” said Michael E. Horowitz, U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General. “We also would like to thank the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and the Major Incident Team for their assistance with this investigation.”

Astarita was one of a number of FBI agents assigned to the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and was present during the shooting of Robert LaVoy Finicum on January 26, 2016, in Harney County, Oregon.

Astarita was accused of knowingly and willfully making false statements to FBI Supervisory Special Agents. Specifically, Astarita told his supervisors he had not fired his weapon during the attempted arrest of Finnicum.

A federal grand jury charged Astarita with three counts of making false statements in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 and two counts of obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1521(b)(3) on June 20, 2017. One count each of making false statements and obstruction of justice were dismissed pre-trial.

The verdicts concludes a three-week trial during which jurors heard testimony from FBI agents, state and local law enforcement officers, forensic scientists and ballistics experts.

The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General investigated this case in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. The case was prosecuted by Gary Y. Sussman and Paul T. Maloney, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: VERDICT-Astarita-Final.pdf
Oregon Domestic Terrorism Suspect in Custody After 12 Years on the Run - 08/10/18

WASHINGTON – Joseph Mahmoud Dibee, 50, of Seattle, Washington, an accused domestic terrorist and 12-year fugitive, has been apprehended and returned to the United States to face federal criminal charges in Oregon, California and Washington State.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, Assistant Director Michael McGarrity of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams for the District of Oregon, and Special Agent in Charge Renn Cannon of the FBI in Oregon made the announcement.

“Whatever the motivation, terrorism is simply unacceptable,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Domestic terrorism is no exception. Because of the close cooperation between our international and intergovernmental partners, Dibee will now face the consequences for his crimes. This should send a clear message to all other criminals on the run: no matter how long it takes, we will find you and we will bring you to justice.”

“We will always continue in our mission to locate and bring to justice those who threaten our national security or seek to harm the American people,” said FBI Assistant Director McGarrity. “We thank all of the agents, analysts, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who have worked tirelessly on this case over the years.”

“More than two decades ago, a loosely affiliated group of environmental extremists set out to express their views using force, violence, sabotage, mass destruction, intimidation, and coercion,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Thankfully no innocent lives were taken by these senseless acts. Today we recognize the FBI’s unwavering pursuit of justice in returning longstanding fugitive Joseph Dibee. Dibee will now, as many of his co-conspirators have before, face the consequences of his actions. Using violent means to express one’s views will never be tolerated nor forgotten. We will bring every last person responsible for these crimes to justice.”

“Every act of violence comes with a choice—a choice to do harm,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Cannon. “A choice to do what may be irreparable damage to a family, a business, or a researcher’s life work. A choice to risk the lives of the firefighters who will respond to an incident. Most of the defendants in the FBI's long-running Operation BACKFIRE investigation have answered for those decisions they made with significant prison sentences and millions of dollars in fines. Mr. Dibee, who traveled the world to avoid capture, will now, finally, have to answer to the allegations of violence he faces.”

Dibee, an American citizen, is charged in the District of Oregon with one count of conspiracy to commit arson, one count of conspiracy to commit arson and destruction of an energy facility, and one count of arson. He also faces one count each of conspiracy to commit arson, possession of an unregistered firearm, and possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence in the Western District of Washington and one count each of conspiracy to commit arson, arson of a government building, and possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence in the Eastern District of California.

Dibee will make an initial appearance in federal court today at 1:30 p.m. before a federal magistrate judge in the District of Oregon. The government will seek his continued detention.

According to court documents, federal authorities learned Dibee was traveling through Central America on his way to Russia with a planned stop in Cuba. With the assistance of the Cuban authorities, particularly the Ministries of the Interior and Exterior, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security including the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations and the U.S. Embassy in Havana, the FBI arranged for Cuban authorities to detain Dibee before he boarded a plane bound for Russia, and return him to the United States. Dibee fled the United States in December 2005.

In 2006, a federal grand jury in Oregon indicted Dibee and 11 coconspirators as part of Operation BACKFIRE, a long-running FBI domestic terrorism investigation. The conspirators, known as “The Family,” have been linked to more than 40 criminal acts ranging from vandalism to arson between 1995 and 2001, causing more than $45 million in damages.

Many of the Dibee’s crimes were linked to the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) or the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). Dibee’s “captured” poster can be seen at https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/dt/joseph-mahmoud-dibee.

One fugitive remains at large from Operation BACKFIRE. Josephine Sunshine Overaker, an American citizen believed to be either 43 or 46 years old, fled to Europe in late 2001. Overaker faces 19 felony charges including conspiracy to commit arson, conspiracy to commit arson and destruction of an energy facility, attempted arson, and arson in the District of Oregon, the Western District of Washington, and the District of Colorado. Overaker speaks fluent Spanish and may seek employment as a firefighter, midwife, sheep tender, or masseuse. The FBI continues to offer a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to her arrest.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Geoffrey Barrow of the District of Oregon, Andrew Friedman and Thomas Woods of the Western District of Washington and Heiko Coppola of the Eastern District of California, along with Trial Attorney David Cora of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

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DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, PLEASE USE THE CONTACTS IN THE MESSAGE OR CALL THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AT 202-514-2007.

Notice of Press Conference - 08/10/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, and Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon, will hold a press conference following the conclusion of Magistrate Court on Friday, August 10, 2018.

Date

Friday, August 10, 2018

Time

Set up beginning at 1:30PM. Conference will begin at 2:00PM.

Location

Jury Assembly Room – Second Floor

Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse

1000 SW Third Ave.

Portland, OR 97204

Access

All credentialed media are invited to attend and required to display valid photo identification to gain entry into the courthouse.

Please limit attendance to a maximum of three individuals from any one media outlet.

Photo/Video

Credentialed media are invited to use camera and audio equipment during the press conference. Use of camera and audio equipment is otherwise prohibited in the federal courthouse.

Contact

Kevin Sonoff

Public Affairs Officer

United States Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon

kevin.sonoff@usdoj.gov | (503) 727-1185

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Umatilla Man Sentenced to 37 Months in Federal Prison for Abusive Sexual Contact With Minor - 08/02/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Thomas James Adams, 23, of La Grande, Oregon, was sentenced today to 37 months in federal prison for sexually abusing a minor victim on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

According to court documents, in September 2015, Adams, then 20 years old, visited the 9-year-old minor victim at his family’s home during the Pendleton Round-Up, a local rodeo event. When others in the house were asleep, Adams convinced the minor victim to participate in a series of “dares” or “challenges” that escalated from running around the house naked and peeing outside in the dark to looking at adult pornographic photos on Adam’s cellphone, mutual masturbation and touching each other’s genitals. The young victim reported the sexual contact to his parents, who contacted tribal law enforcement authorities.

The court also ordered Adams to have no contact with the victim or his immediate family, and ordered that he not enter or visit the Umatilla Indian Reservation without approval in advance from his probation officer.

Adams pleaded guilty to one count of abusive sexual contact in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2244(a)(5) and 1152 on January 31, 2018.

The case was investigated by the FBI with the assistance of the Umatilla Tribal Police Department. It was prosecuted by Jennifer Martin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Adams-Final.pdf
U.S. Attorney Statement on Release of 2018 HIDTA Marijuana Insight Report - 08/02/18

PORTLAND, Ore.—Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon provided the below statement on the release of the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) 2018 Marijuana Insight Report.

“The recent HIDTA Insight Report on marijuana production, distribution, and consumption in Oregon confirms what we already know—it is out of control. The industry’s considerable and negative impacts on land use, water, and underage consumption must be addressed immediately. State officials should respond quickly and in a comprehensive manner to address the many concerns raised by this assessment. To date, we’ve seen insufficient progress from our state officials. We are alarmed by revelations from industry representatives, landowners, and law enforcement partners describing the insufficient and underfunded regulatory and enforcement structure governing both recreational and medical use. A weakly-regulated industry will continue to detract from the livability and health of communities throughout the state.”

“What is often lost in this discussion is the link between marijuana and serious, interstate criminal activity. Overproduction is rampant and the illegal transport of product out of state—a violation of both state and federal law—continues unchecked. My ask continues to be for transparency, responsible regulation, adequate funding, and a willingness to work together. It’s time for the state to wake up, slow down, and address these issues in a responsible and thoughtful manner.”

The Oregon HIDTA program was established by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in June of 1999. In 2015 the program expanded into Idaho and was renamed the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA. The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA consists of 14 counties and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Counties in the HIDTA include Oregon’s Clackamas, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Lane, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Umatilla and Washington counties, and Idaho’s Ada, Bannock and Canyon counties.

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Portland Man Given Prison, Probation for Video Voyeurism at Local Daycare Facility - 07/30/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Jay Walter Jaacks, 50, of Portland, was sentenced today to 34 days in federal prison and five years of probation for placing a concealed video camera in the adult restroom of the Joyful Noise Child Development Center on Southwest First Avenue in Portland.

Jaacks was also ordered to complete 240 hours of community service and is permanently prohibited from entering the daycare facility or having contact with any of its employees.

On or about July 29, 2016, Jaacks concealed a video camera in a small cosmetics bag and placed it in the adult restroom of a daycare facility in Portland. The video camera captured 17 adults, both daycare employees and other parents, in various stages of undress. A daycare employee found the camera and immediately notified law enforcement. Law enforcement officials seized the camera before Jaacks could retrieve it.

All employees and families affiliated with the daycare facility have been notified of Jaacks’ crimes.

Jaacks previously pleaded guilty to 17 misdemeanor counts of video voyeurism on April 23, 2018.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Protective Service (FPS) investigated this case. It was prosecuted by Scott Kerin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Jaacks-Final.pdf
Man Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Two Portland Women Given 92 Months in Prison for Illegal Reentry - 07/30/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Sergio Martinez-Mendoza, 30, was sentenced today to 92 months in federal prison for illegal reentry. Upon completion of his prison sentence, Martinez-Mendoza will be subject to deportation.

“We must stop dangerous criminals with no right to be in the U.S. from returning to our streets and reoffending after completing their state sentences,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Giving ICE notice that a defendant is in custody on state charges is permitted under Oregon state law and could have prevented these horrific crimes. Oregonians deserve and expect more. As evidenced by this case,” continued U.S. Attorney Williams, “effective communication between federal and state law enforcement is imperative to ensure dangerous illegal aliens are identified and deported according to law.”

According to court documents, prior to July 2017, Martinez-Mendoza, a Mexican citizen, had been deported or removed from the U.S. 11 times, most recently in November 2016. After his eleventh illegal reentry, Martinez-Mendoza committed and was convicted of two violent sexual assaults against two adult females in Portland.

On July 24, 2017, Martinez-Mendoza broke into a home in Portland, pulled an adult female victim from her bed, bound her hands and feet, and proceeded to sexually assault her. During the assault, Martinez-Mendoza punched the victim in the head and slammed her face against the floor. Afterward, he stole $20 from the victim’s purse and fled.

A few hours later, Martinez-Mendoza approached a second victim in parking garage and held a knife to her chest. He knocked a cell phone from her hand and forced her into the passenger seat of her car. The victim temporarily escaped from out the passenger door, but Martinez-Mendoza caught up with her, forced her to ground, and repeatedly banged her head against the pavement.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted Martinez-Mendoza for these offenses and, in December 2017, he was sentenced to 420 months in prison. Martinez-Mendoza previously pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of illegal reentry on February 22, 2018.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and prosecuted by Leah K. Bolstad, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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California Man Sentenced to 150 Months in Federal Prison for Violent Assault Resulting in Serious Injury - 07/19/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Victor Joseph Contreras, 23, of Fresno, California, was sentenced today to 150 months in federal prison for charges stemming from a March 2016 shooting death on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

According to court documents, on March 19, 2016, Contreras and codefendant Julian Darryl James Simpson attended a party on the reservation. As a result of escalating disputes between suspected gang members at the party, Contreras and Simpson were asked to leave.

When other party goers left the house, Contreras and Simpson opened fire on them using semiautomatic pistols. Simpson fired at least one shot at a victim, striking him in the back of the head, and fired additional shots into a nearby car. Contreras, upon hearing the gunshots, fired more than 20 rounds into the crowd of party goers, striking a second victim just above the ankle. The first victim was medically evacuated to a nearby hospital but later died from his injuries. Contreras fled the scene, but was arrested shortly thereafter. Simpson was arrested a week later in Lewiston, Idaho with the firearm used to kill the victim.

Contreras previously pleaded guilty to one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence on July 5, 2017. Upon completion of his prison sentence, Contreras will be on supervised release for 5 years.

Simpson pleaded guilty to second degree murder on October 27, 2017. He was sentenced 25 years in prison followed by a 5-year term of supervised release.

The case was jointly investigated by the FBI and the Umatilla Tribal Police Department, and prosecuted by Scott M. Kerin, Jennifer J. Martin, Paul T. Maloney, and John C. Brassell, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: Contreras final
Oregon Prosecutor Receives DEA Administrator's Award - 07/18/18

WASHINGTON – Scott M. Kerin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, was one of several prosecutors and investigators recognized today by Acting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Uttam Dhillon for their work investigating a transnational opiate trafficking organization.

Kerin and his colleagues were given the prestigious Administrator’s Award for Outstanding Group Achievement in a ceremony today in Washington.

This case came to the attention of law enforcement as part of “Operational Denial,” an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation into the international trafficking of fentanyl and other legal drugs, and was significantly aided by the national and international coordination of agencies led by DEA’s Special Operations Division (SOD). The operation started in North Dakota in January 2015 as an overdose investigation. To date, 32 defendants have been charged as a result of the investigation.

This case jointly investigated by DEA; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); U.S. Postal Inspection Service; IRS Criminal Investigations; Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force; Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); Portland Police Bureau (PPB), Drugs and Vice Division; Portland HIDTA Interdiction Task Force; Oregon State Police (OSP); and the Grand Forks, North Dakota Police Department.

Christopher C. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota; Assistant U.S. Attorney Kerin; and Trial Attorney Adrienne Rose of the Criminal Division’s Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section are prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the department’s strategy for reducing the availability of drugs in the U.S. OCDETF was established in 1982 to mount a comprehensive attack on drug trafficking by disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in coordination with state and local law enforcement.

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Oregon Man Sentenced to 70 Months in Federal Prison for Detonating Explosive Device in Fred Meyer Store - 07/16/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Monte Robin Kaija, Jr., 47, of Portland, was sentenced today to 70 months in federal prison for detonating a small explosive device at a Fred Meyer store in Southeast Portland, and later possessing a homemade metal pipe bomb.

According to court documents, on May 21, 2016, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) received a report of an individual placing a small pipe bomb made of PVC in an aisle of a Fred Meyer store on SE 82nd Avenue in Portland. Portland Fire & Rescue were dispatched to assist PPB with their response. Kaija detonated the device shortly before police arrived on scene, causing damage to a single aisle. Nobody was injured in the explosion, and Kaija fled. While processing the scene, PPB officers identified several fragments of white plastic PVC pipe, pieces of white plastic PVC end caps, electrical tape, and a granular, power-like substance.

After analyzing the materials collected on scene, the Oregon State Police Lab notified PPB that a DNA profile had been collected from a small piece of electrical tape. The DNA profile was matched to Kaija. On August 31, 2016, PPB officers arrested Kaija in a motorhome on SE 96th Avenue in Portland, and discovered a homemade metal pipe bomb in his motorhome.  A certified bomb technician assigned to the Portland Metropolitan Explosive Disposal Unit responded to the scene and rendered the device safe. As a convicted felon, he was not allowed to possess the destructive devices.

Kaija previously pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of an unregistered destructive device in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5841, 5861(d), and 5871 on December 12, 2016. Upon completion of his prison sentence, Kaija will be on supervised release for three years.

The PPB and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated this case. It was prosecuted by Hannah Horsley and Paul T. Maloney, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Kaija-Final.pdf