U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
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News Releases
Newberg Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening School Shooting at California College - 08/22/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Vasiliy V. Barbiyeru, Jr., 24, of Newberg, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to one count of transmitting a threatening interstate communication.

According to court documents, on October 7, 2017, Barbiyeru sent a threatening email to several individuals and groups at Deep Springs College in Big Pine, California where he had been denied admission. Barbiyeru had previously sent threatening emails to the college’s president and other associated persons.

On March 1, 2019, Barbiyeru was charged with first degree disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, in Clackamas County Circuit Court after making similar threats of violence to Lake Oswego High School. Barbiyeru was arrested a short time later by the Lake Oswego Police Department. His state charges are still pending.

Barbiyeru faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on November 18, 2019 before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael W. Mosman.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Newberg and McMinnville Police Departments and is being prosecuted by Hannah Horsley, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Two Canadian Nationals Indicted for Bitcoin Fraud - 08/22/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that Karanjit Singh Khatkar, 23, and Jagroop Singh Khatkar, 24, of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, have been charged with wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft for a scheme to steal bitcoin from an Oregon resident.

Together, Karanjit and Jagroop Khatkar face one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft and multiple counts of money laundering.

According to the indictment, beginning in October 2017 and continuing until August 2018, the defendants used a Twitter account with the name @HitBTCAssist to trick victims into thinking they were communicating with a customer service representative from HitBTC, a Hong Kong-based online platform used to exchange virtual currency. HitBTC provides its customers with web-based “wallets” to store virtual currency and make transactions.

Using the fraudulent Twitter account, the defendants responded to the Oregon victim’s questions about withdrawing virtual currency from her HitBTC account. The defendants convinced the victim to send information they could use to log on and take over her email, HitBTC and Kraken accounts. Kraken is a U.S.-based online platform that offers services similar to HitBTC.

The defendants initiated transfers of 23.2 bitcoins from the victim’s HitBTC account to Karanjit Khatkar’s Kraken account. Karanjit Khatkar in turn transferred approximately 11.6 in stolen bitcoins to Jagroop Khatkar’s Kraken account. The stolen bitcoins have an estimated present value of approximately $233,220.

On July 18, 2019, Karanjit Khatkar was arrested upon arrival at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada. The following week, a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Las Vegas ordered Karanjit Khatkar detained pending transport by the U.S. Marshals to the District of Oregon.

Karanjit Khatkar made his first appearance in the District of Oregon on August 12, 2019. At a hearing on August 20, 2019, he was ordered detained pending a four-day trial scheduled to begin on October 8, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon.

Jagroop Singh Khatkar remains at large and is believed to be in Canada.

This case was investigated by FBI and is being prosecuted by Quinn P. Harrington, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Portland Woman Indicted for Tax Fraud Scheme Targeting Somali Refugee Community - 08/19/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, announced today that a local woman has been indicted for a tax fraud scheme targeting Somali refugees in the Portland Metropolitan Area.

Rukia Mohamed, 35, a resident of Portland, has been charged with thirteen counts of making false statements by willfully aiding and assisting individual taxpayers to submit false or fraudulent tax returns claiming tax credits for which the taxpayers were ineligible. Mohamed is also charged with three counts of filing false tax returns for her own taxes.

The indictment alleges that from 2014-2017, Mohamed claimed more than $1 million in false tax credits on behalf of ineligible taxpayers.

“We encourage members of the public to carefully evaluate those from whom they take tax or other financial advice from,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “We are aware of fraudulent tax preparers targeting refugee communities in the Portland area and are working closely with the IRS to investigate these crimes and bring those responsible to justice.”

Mohamed was released pending a three-day jury trial before U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon.

This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Michelle Kerin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

If you or someone you know have information about tax preparers you believe are engaged in fraudulent activity, please complete IRS Form #3949-A, print it and mail it to: IRS-Criminal Investigation, 1220 SW Third Avenue, G044 M/S 0326, Portland, Oregon 97204.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Lane County Man Pleads Guilty to Shooting At Endangered Gray Wolf - 08/19/19

MEDFORD, Ore.—Colton Tony Dick, 22, of Oakridge, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to a single count of unlawfully taking an endangered species.

According to court documents, on October 5, 2016, using a rifle and scope, Dick shot at an endangered gray wolf without legal justification as the animal was walking away from him in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Dick was unable to locate the wolf.

Although Dick did not admit to killing a gray wolf, an investigation began on October 6, 2016 when an adult female GPS-collared gray wolf known as “OR 28” was found dead in the Fremont-Winema National Forest near Summer Lake, Oregon. On November 9, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Forensic Lab determined OR 28 died as a result of injuries sustained from a single gunshot wound.

Gray wolves (Canis lupus), located in Western Oregon, are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Unlawfully taking an endangered species carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and one year of supervised release.

Under a deferred sentencing agreement with the government, Dick has agreed to submit to one-year of supervised release, pay restitution of $2,500 to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, not hunt any wildlife for a period of one year and perform 100 hours of community service.

If Dick complies with these conditions, he will be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea and the government will move to dismiss his charge.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and the Oregon State Police. It was prosecuted by Adam E. Delph, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

If you or someone you know has information about a wildlife crime, please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement by emailing fws_tips@fws.gov or calling 1-844-397-8477.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
U.S. Attorney Statement on Law Enforcement Response to Portland Demonstration - 08/19/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, provided the below statement on the law enforcement response to the August 17, 2019 demonstration in Downtown Portland.

“As a prosecutor, I’ve had the honor of being involved in law enforcement in Oregon for nearly 30 years. Much of this time has been working with agencies in the Portland Metropolitan Area, and, as a federal prosecutor for the last 19 years, partners throughout the state.

This past Saturday, I had the privilege of watching more than 700 local, state and federal law enforcement, fire and medical professionals work tirelessly to protect the City of Portland. These dedicated, unselfish, and non-political public servants worked together to gather the resources needed to protect our community and, in the process, change the narrative of public safety in this city.

Law enforcement does not and cannot take sides in politically-charged public discourse. This weekend’s response effort was consistent with what I’ve observed throughout my career: public servants working together to ensure public safety and help others, irrespective of politics.

In an era where it’s become all too common for politicians and pundits to question the intentions of law enforcement, I hope this weekend’s police response will serve as a definitive counterpoint.

Please join me in thanking the men and women in uniform who gave up their time with family and friends to protect our community and allow people to exercise their rights here in Portland.

To our law enforcement partners throughout Oregon—the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice appreciate you and have your back.”

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Prineville Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Transfer and Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun - 08/13/19

EUGENE, Ore.—Michael James Friesen, 33, of Prineville, Oregon, was sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for conspiracy to transfer and unlawful possession of a machine gun.

According to court documents, between May and June 2018, Friesen agreed to broker the sale of a Guide Lamp, Model M3A1, .45 ACP caliber machine gun for co-defendant John Widener Jordan, 38, also of Prineville. Between May 30 and June 5, Friesen discussed the sale price of the firearm with an undercover agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) posing as a potential purchaser. Friesen confirmed for the agent that he had seen the firearm function as a machine gun.

On June 6, Friesen met the undercover agent in a motel room in Prineville. Shortly thereafter, Jordan brought the firearm to the motel room and completed the transaction in exchange for $3,000 in cash. Jordan in turn paid Friesen for arranging the sale.        

On April 24, 2019, Friesen pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to transfer and unlawful possession of a machine gun.

 Jordan is awaiting a jury trial scheduled to begin on October 16, 2019.

This case was investigated by the ATF and is being prosecuted by Nathan J. Lichvarcik, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Portland Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Butane Hash Oil Explosion - 08/12/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Christopher James Hughes, 30, a resident of Portland, Oregon, was sentenced today to eight months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for endangering human life while illegally manufacturing hash oil, a controlled substance.

According to court documents, on March 7, 2016, Hughes was using compressed butane gas to extract hash oil from marijuana in a shed attached to a residence in Northeast Portland. During the process, an individual in an adjacent room lit a cigarette lighter, igniting an explosion of remnant butane gas. The explosion created a fireball that burned the defendant and the contents and walls of the shed. The blast knocked the shared wall of the shed and residence from its attachment to the ceiling.

At the time of the explosion and fire, three children were inside the residence, including an infant under the age of one. All of the children were safely evacuated and none sustained any physical injuries. Law enforcement seized marijuana, a Pyrex dish containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and dozens of cans of butane gas from the shed.

On February 20, 2019, Hughes pleaded guilty to a single count of endangering human life while illegally manufacturing a controlled substance.

This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau’s Drugs and Vice Division and Portland Fire & Rescue’s Arson Unit. It was prosecuted by Peter Sax, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Eugene Jury Convicts Methamphetamine Traffickers - 08/12/19

EUGENE, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that a federal jury in Eugene has found two men guilty of trafficking methamphetamine from Southern California to Central Oregon and the Portland Metropolitan Area for distribution.

On August 9, 2019, Ronald Wayne Thrasher, 49, of Madras, Oregon, was found guilty of purchasing and transporting methamphetamine for distribution. Thrasher’s supplier, Russell Marvin Jones, 53, of Gresham, Oregon, was found guilty of selling methamphetamine and possessing a stolen firearm. Both men were also found guilty of being felons in possession of a firearm.

Thrasher and Jones have each served time in prison for past convictions. Thrasher served time in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and Jones in Oregon state prison for first degree manslaughter.

Nine co-defendants have previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with Thrasher to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and are awaiting sentencing: Jordan Michael Johnson, 57, of San Diego, California; Brenda Ann Lederman, 46, of Santee, California; Jason James Puckett, 46, of Prineville, Oregon; Tyler Wayne Fuller, 30, Renee Marie Scarlett, 48, and Talina Shantel Ortiz, 45, of Madras; Jacklin Renee Bowlby, 36, of Bend, Oregon; Kerry Wayne Hopson, 33, of Redmond, Oregon; and Mistie Dawn Cooper, 39, of Alfalfa, Oregon. Fuller also pleaded guilty to robbing a bank in Madras.    

According to court documents and testimony produced at trial, in spring of 2016, Thrasher became acquainted with multiple co-defendants who were engaged in trafficking methamphetamine from Santee, San Diego and Portland for resale in Central Oregon. Thrasher used these connections to establish a source of supply for his own methamphetamine use and distribution.

In early 2017, after his primary supplier was arrested in Redmond, an associate introduced Thrasher to Jones, a methamphetamine manufacturer, dealer and user in the Portland, Oregon area. On or about February 17, 2017, Thrasher traveled to Portland with his associates to meet Jones. During this meeting, Jones sold Thrasher several pounds of methamphetamine. On March 20, 2017, after several additional methamphetamine deals, Jones sold Thrasher a stolen firearm.

By April 2017, Thrasher was distributing methamphetamine via multiple associates throughout Central Oregon. On April 9, 2017, he was introduced to new California-based methamphetamine suppliers including Stevens. Two weeks later, Thrasher and an associate drove to Santee to meet with his new suppliers. During this meeting, Thrasher purchased approximately 13 pounds of methamphetamine from Stevens.

In May 2017, a Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team investigation identified Thrasher as a high-volume methamphetamine supplier and distributor. On May 29, 2017, CODE detectives assisted by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent arrested Thrasher and seized approximately 16 pounds of methamphetamine, $16,000 in cash, records of drug sales and the stolen firearm from his residence in Madras.

Thrasher and Jones will be sentenced on February 4, 2020 and November 14, 2019, respectively, before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

This case was investigated by CODE, DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Oregon State Police. It was prosecuted Frank R. Papagni Jr. and Judi Harper, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon, with the assistance of the Jefferson, Crook and Deschutes County District Attorney’s Offices.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Two Charged for Hoax Bomb Threat at Deschutes County Courthouse - 08/09/19

EUGENE, Ore.—A federal criminal complaint was unsealed today charging two defendants with placing a hoax bomb at the Deschutes County Courthouse on July 29, 2019.

Kellie Kent Cameron, 31, and Jonathan Tyler Allen, 23, both of Bend, Oregon, were charged with conspiracy to make a threat regarding explosive materials in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 844(e) and (n) and false information and hoaxes in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1038.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by Nathan J. Lichvarcik, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Portland Man Pleads Guilty to Clean Water Act Violation for Discharging Oil Into Willamette River - 08/05/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—A local man pleaded guilty today in federal court for violating the Clean Water Act by negligently discharging oil into the Willamette River in Portland.

Robert La Rue Webb, II, 59, pleaded guilty to one count of negligently discharging harmful quantities of oil into a water of the U.S.

According to court documents and disclosures at the hearing, on January 22, 2018, Webb, an employee of the engineering firm Mott MacDonald, was pumping oil into a 10,000-gallon used-oil tank at the Union Pacific Albina Railyard in Portland. While operating the pump, Webb walked away to make a phone call and was still distracted by his cell phone as the tank overflowed. More than 1,000 gallons of oil entered a storm water drain and were discharged into the Willamette River, resulting in a sheen and discoloration of the river’s surface.

Webb faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a $25,000 per day fine and one year of supervised release. He will be sentenced on October 28, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman.

This case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon, and Will McLaren, a special assistant U.S. attorney for the district and criminal enforcement counsel for EPA Region 10.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
"Froggy Robber" Pleads Guilty to Armed Bank Robbery Charges - 08/05/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Diego Sanchez-Lopez, 24, of Clark County, Washington, known locally as the “Froggy Robber,” pleaded guilty today to six counts of bank robbery.

According to court documents, between November 2017 and April 2018, Sanchez-Lopez stole more than $87,000 from the following six banks in Oregon and Southwest Washington:

  • On November 27, 2017, $9,710 was stolen from the Albina Community Bank located at 2002 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Portland.
  • On December 27, 2017, $26,000 was stolen from the Wells Fargo Bank located at 8699 SW Main Street in Wilsonville, Oregon.
  • On January 11, 2018, $11,580.99 was stolen from the Wells Fargo Bank located at 6785 Beaverton Hillsdale Highway in Beaverton, Oregon.
  • On January 30, 2018, $6,720 was stolen from the U.S. Bank located at 52313 Columbia River Highway in Scappoose, Oregon.
  • On February 12, 2018, $15,400 was stolen from the Wells Fargo Bank located at 1800 Main Street in Vancouver, Washington.
  • On April 30, 2018, 33,357 was stolen from the Wells Fargo Bank located at 7200 NE Butler Street in Hillsboro, Oregon.

In all six robberies, Sanchez-Lopez jumped over the bank teller counter and threatened bank employees with a knife.

Each bank robbery charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release. Sanchez-Lopez will be sentenced on November 5, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman.

As a non-citizen and lawful permanent resident, Sanchez-Lopez’s guilty plea will subject him to removal from the U.S. by immigration authorities.

This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by John C. Brassell, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Eagle Point Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 120 Months in Federal Prison for Distributing Methamphetamine - 08/01/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Rodrigo Caro-Gonzalez, 35, a noted drug trafficker residing in Eagle Point, Oregon, was sentenced today to 120 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and illegally possessing a firearm.

According to court documents, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began investigating Caro-Gonzalez in May 2016. A few months later, based on a tip, the Oregon State Police (OSP) stopped a car driven by one of Caro-Gonzalez’s associates carrying more than 30 pounds of methamphetamine. The investigation of Caro-Gonzalez continued when, in March 2017, a person believed to have obtained methamphetamine from Caro-Gonzalez was stopped with approximately 16 pounds of methamphetamine.

Later in March 2017, a confidential source met with Caro-Gonzalez and a third associate. The group arranged a drug deal. The deal never occurred, but the associate was arrested a few days later with more than five pounds of methamphetamine. The DEA then executed a search warrant at Caro-Gonzalez’s Eagle Point residence and seized $9,585, an AK-style firearm, a thirty-round magazine, a pistol and ammunition. Caro-Gonzalez admitted to being in the U.S. illegally, making his possession of the weapons unlawful.

On April 2, 2019, Caro-Gonzalez pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possessing a firearm as an illegal alien.

This case was investigated by DEA, the Springfield Police Department, INET and OSP and prosecuted by Jeffrey Sweet, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Trail, Oregon Couple Sentenced to Federal Prison for Serial Bank Robbery - 07/30/19

EUGENE, Ore.—An Oregon couple was sentenced today to federal prison for robbing six banks in four Southern Oregon counties over a two month period.

John Steven Shepard, 38, of Trail, Oregon, was sentenced to 51 months in prison and three years’ supervised release. Kimberly Ann Blank, 39, also of Trail, was sentenced to 33 months in prison and three years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, on January 27, 2017, Shepard robbed the Evergreen Bank in Rogue River, Oregon. He fled with $1,950 in a vehicle driven by Blank. During the robbery, Shepard wore a cowboy hat and a jacket, the first of many disguises.

Five days later, Shepard robbed the Key Bank in Grants Pass, Oregon wearing a wig, glasses and a hat. He left the bank with $10,145 as a security dye pack hidden in the money spewed a cloud of red smoke. A witness said it looked like a road flare had gone off in Shepard’s pocket. Again, he fled in a vehicle driven by Blank.

Between February 7 and March 30, 2017, Shepard, wearing various disguises, robbed four additional banks with Blank’s assistance: Banner Banks in Riddle and Cottage Grove Oregon, a Bank of the Cascades in Medford, Oregon, and an Umpqua Bank in Ashland, Oregon.

After their final robbery, police located Blank in a vehicle matching the description of the getaway vehicle used in previous robberies. Shepard was located nearby in a second vehicle. Both were released while police obtained search warrants for Blank’s car and the couple’s residence in Trail. On April 4, 2017, Shepard and Blank were arrested in Fortuna, California.  

During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Ann L. Aiken ordered Shepard and Blank each to pay $31,045 in restitution. On April 17, 2019, Shepard and Blank each pleaded guilty to multiple counts of bank robbery.

This case was investigated by the FBI working together with the City of Medford, Grants Pass, Cottage Grove, Ashland and Rogue River Police Departments and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Jeffrey Sweet, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, working together with the Josephine and Jackson County District Attorney’s Offices.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Repeat Offender Sentenced to 125 Months in Federal Prison for Dealing Methamphetamine - 07/30/19

EUGENE, Ore.—Randall Neal Wynn, 59, of Goshen, Oregon, was sentenced today to 125 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release for possessing methamphetamine.

According to court documents, Wyn’s criminal history spans nearly four decades. His drug, gun and elude offenses date back to the 1980s, and he has previously been sentenced to prison on at least six separate occasions, including a 17-year sentence imposed in 1993.

After multiple supervised release violations and four additional years in prison, Wynn’s criminal behavior continued. A Lane County Interagency Narcotics Team (INET) investigation revealed, in 2017, that Wynn was again dealing methamphetamine. INET arrested Wynn twice in 2017, after searches led to the seizure of narcotics, weapons and cash.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) also investigated Wynn, as did the City of Springfield and Cottage Grove, Oregon Police Departments. On March 22, 2018, ATF arrested Wynn in Cottage Grove, seizing more than a pound of methamphetamine and a quarter pound of heroin.

Wynn’s criminal conduct has repeatedly endangered the public. In 1985, Wynn eluded police in a vehicle, nearly striking two officers; in 1993, while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, he seriously injured a woman in a head-on crash, causing her to be taken by life flight to a Portland-area hospital; and on multiple occasions in 2018, Wynn evaded police in dangerous vehicle escapes.

On December 12, 2018, Wynn pleaded guilty to two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

This case was investigated by ATF, INET and the City of Springfield and Cottage Grove Police Departments, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service. It was prosecuted by Jeffrey Sweet, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, working with the Lane County District Attorney’s Office.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Third Portland-Area Man Sentenced in Methamphetamine Trafficking Conspiracy - 07/29/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that a third Portland-area man was sentenced to federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to traffic large quantities of methamphetamine into the Portland Metropolitan Area.

Ulises Mayares Jr., 26, of Portland, was sentenced today to 48 months in prison and five years’ supervised release for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Mayares’ sentence follows two sentences previously imposed for related conduct. On June 3, 2019, Francisco Alvarez, 49, also of Portland, was sentenced to 188 months in prison and five years’ supervised release. On May 1, 2019, Carlos Ortega-Estrella, 35, of Beaverton, Oregon, was sentenced to 140 months in prison and five years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, over a period of years, Alvarez, a convicted felon, supervised a drug trafficking organization responsible for obtaining hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine from a supplier for distribution in and around Portland. He was typically the only person in the trafficking organization who had direct contact with Ortega-Estrella, his supplier.

Alvarez supervised multiple runners, including Mayares, who stored methamphetamine, firearms and large amounts of cash in locations throughout Multnomah County. Mayares was Alvarez’s closest associate and supervising runner. He was responsible for obtaining methamphetamine from Alvarez, storing it, giving it to other runners to distribute and collecting money from other runners for their services. Mayares admitted to making some deliveries himself and, at times, dealing directly with Ortega-Estrella.

Ortega-Estrella would transport large quantities of drugs from California and deliver them to Oregon. He maintained two separate residences in Beaverton, Oregon to store and repackage methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine. Upon searching these properties, investigators found several pounds of these drugs along with two assault-style weapons, four semiautomatic pistols and approximately $90,000 in cash.

In a search of Mayares’ residence, investigators seized an additional 28 pounds of methamphetamine, $90,000 in cash, and two handguns.

Ortega-Estrella pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine on June 20, 2018. Alvarez and Mayares each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine on March 11 and 21, 2019, respectively.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Gresham Police Department and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Mayares-Final.pdf