U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
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News Releases
Jury Convicts Former Tigard Resident for Defrauding Investors in Ohio Gold Mine - 12/13/18

PORTLAND, Ore.—On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, a federal jury in Portland returned guilty verdicts against Harry Dean Proudfoot III, 78, formerly of Tigard, Oregon, for running a fraudulent gold mining investment scheme that he used to steal $3.2 million from 140 investors. Proudfoot was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering.

“Harry Proudfoot and his children made many promises to their investors—promises they never intended to fulfill. They now join a long list of financial criminals whose schemes were cut short by diligent investigators working on behalf of victims. Pursuing criminals who prey on unknowing investors is a top priority for federal law enforcement in Oregon,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

“The FBI is committed to investigating fraud schemes and deceptive practices by those who can cause devastating and irreparable financial harm to the members of our community. Together with its law enforcement partners, the FBI is dedicated to protecting the interests of the American public, so they can both invest and lend with confidence,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.

“Mr. Proudfoot and his children built a ‘house of cards’ with their false promises and when it collapsed, as these houses do, IRS-Criminal Investigation is proud to support its law enforcement partners to expose and bring to justice those responsible,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Darrell Waldon.

According to court documents and information shared at trial, in 2008, Harry Proudfoot created 3 Eagles Research and Development, a company based in Tigard that he used from 2008 through 2012 to solicit investors for a purported goldmining operation in Ohio. Harry Proudfoot, along with his adult children, including co-defendant Matthew Proudfoot, falsely promised to use investors’ money to purchase mining equipment and conduct mining operations at two gravel pits in Ohio.

To entice investors, Proudfoot and his children offered high rates of return, typically 10% of gross revenues, payable once the mine became operational. They falsely told investors they had all the necessary legal and business requirements in place for the mining operation.

At the same time, Proudfoot and his children withheld important facts from investors including that Harry Proudfoot had received cease and desist orders from the States of Alaska and Oregon for selling unregistered securities through material misrepresentations in 1992, 1993, and 2003 and that Matthew Proudfoot had filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Rather than using investor money as promised they diverted it to their personal use, funding living expenses, cars, travel, credit card bills, medical payments, lulling payments and other expenses to keep the scheme afloat.

In 2011, the States of Washington and Colorado and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began investigating the group for securities violations. Ultimately, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon entered a judgment against Harry Proudfoot, Matthew Proudfoot and the 3 Eagles Research and Development Company in the SEC enforcement action.

Harry Proudfoot faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release on each count of wire fraud and 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release on each count of money laundering. He will be sentenced on April 3, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon.

Co-defendant Matthew Proudfoot pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering on November 1, 2017. He will be sentenced on January 9, 2019.

The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation, and prosecuted by Scott E. Bradford and John C. Brassell, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: VERDICT-Proudfoot-Final.pdf
Portland Man Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison for Role in Interstate Drug Trafficking Conspiracy - 12/12/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Gregory Rex Wilson, 52, of Portland, was sentenced today to 84 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release for distributing heroin and illegally possessing a firearm.

According to court documents, Wilson was part of a drug trafficking organization that transported heroin from El Monte, California to the Portland metropolitan area. The investigation revealed that Wilson was being supplied with heroin by “Chino Antrax,” later identified as co-defendant Pablo Flores. Flores had actively been trafficking heroin to Portland for more than a year. At the time of his arrest on December 12, 2016 in Portland, Wilson had 880 grams of heroin, 100 Xanax pills and a loaded Ruger 9mm pistol in his vehicle. Four additional firearms were later found in a second vehicle owned by Wilson, including one with an obliterated serial number.

On June 12, 2018, Wilson pleaded guilty in this case to one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin and one count of being a felon in possession of firearms. Three of Wilson’s co-defendants, Aaron Ray West, Ricardo Anguiano Cruz, Jr., and Jose Manuel Rodriguez, have also pleaded guilty to related charges. Flores awaits trial.

The case was investigated by the Clackamas County Interagency Task Force (CCITF), FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Portland Police Bureau. It was prosecuted by Matthew J. Semritc, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The case is 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: SENTENCING-Wilson_Greg-Final.pdf
Music Video Screenshot
Music Video Screenshot
California Man Given More Than 15 Years in Prison for Trading Cocaine for Machine Gun, Other Firearms (Photo) - 12/11/18

MEDFORD, Ore. – Gonzalo Manzo, 33, of Fresno, California, was sentenced today to 188 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

According to court documents, in 2017, Manzo coordinated the shipment of a kilogram of cocaine from California to Southern Oregon. Manzo and his co-conspirators sold the cocaine to undercover agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in Oregon in exchange for six Colt .38 Super caliber pistols, two Beretta 9mm pistols with silencers, a Glock 9mm machine gun and $21,000 in cash. Manzo intended for the firearms and cash to be transported back to California but agents arrested Manzo and his co-conspirators and the firearms were seized by law enforcement.

Manzo previously pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on April 27, 2018.

The case was investigated by ATF and prosecuted by Nathan J. Lichvarcik and Adam E. Delph, 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.

Attachments:

Photos 1-3: Firearms received in exchange for cocaine

Photos 4-7: Screenshots from a 2015 YouTube music video depicting Manzo with firearms

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Marijuana_Plants.jpg
Marijuana_Plants.jpg
Redmond Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Hash Oil Explosion (Photo) - 12/06/18

EUGENE, Ore. – On Wednesday, December 5, 2018, William E. Wild, Sr., 48, of Redmond, Oregon, was sentenced to 120 days in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for endangering human life by manufacturing hash oil, a controlled substance.

According to court documents, on December 12, 2016, law enforcement and first responders responded to an explosion at Wild’s residence in Redmond. The explosion occurred in a detached garage where the defendant had been illegally manufacturing butane hash oil (BHO). The force of the explosion blew out Wild’s garage door. By his own admission, Wild had been smoking a cigarette in close proximity to the lab at the time of the explosion.

Officers on scene reported finding burnt clothing, a pressure cooker, a Pyrex dish, a large bin of marijuana stem bud and seed as well as an amber substance later identified as BHO. Officers also found a grow room adjacent to the garage with more than 20 mature marijuana plants. In total, investigators seized 57 mature marijuana plants; scales; packaging materials and containers; ledgers containing drug amounts, debts and receipts; approximately $20,000 in cash and several pipe bombs in Wild’s home.

Wild and his 18-year-old daughter were present at the time of the explosion, suffered burns and smoke inhalation and were transported by ambulance from the residence. Wild’s daughter was later intubated and flown by air-ambulance to Portland for treatment.

Wild, a first-time offender, previously pleaded guilty to one count of endangering human life on August 16, 2018. A restitution hearing is scheduled for February 7, 2019.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in partnership with the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team (CODE), the Oregon State Police and the Redmond police and fire departments. It was prosecuted by Pamela Paaso, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Former Portland Resident Found Guilty of Sexually Exploiting Children While Babysitting - 12/06/18

Defendant subjected minor victims as young as two years old to sexual intercourse, sadistic and masochistic abuse and lascivious exhibition for child pornography

PORTLAND, Ore. – After deliberating for just 20 minutes, a federal jury returned guilty verdicts against Andrew Franklin Kowalczyk, 44, formerly of Portland, for the repeated sexual abuse and exploitation of three minor female victims.

“Andrew Kowalczyk’s actions have brought unthinkable distress and terror to the lives of his victims and their families. Our two prosecutors, each with many years’ experience handling similar cases, describe Kowalczyk’s conduct as the worst they’ve seen in their careers,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “I applaud the unwavering resolve of our trial team, our partner investigators and the victim survivors who persevered against a defendant who attempted every conceivable tactic to delay justice for more than 10 years.”

“I am proud of the people on the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, people who work tirelessly to bring justice to victimized children and help put their abusers behind bars. This defendant will never violate our most vulnerable again, and I hope this sentencing sends a strong message to those who would sexually exploit children,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.

“Heinous crimes like those committed by the defendant must come to an end,” said Brad Bench, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Seattle. “I’m very proud of the agents and law enforcement partners responsible for removing this dangerous person from our streets. Let this be a warning to others who attempt to harm our children. We will work tirelessly to ensure you are brought to justice.”

According to court documents and information shared during trial, law enforcement first learned of Kowalczyk’s abuse in early 2008. On December 27, 2007, a Des Moines, Washington police officer stopped Kowalczyk for several traffic violations. Kowalcyzk did not own the vehicle he was driving, did not have a driver’s license and gave the officer a false name. After refusing the officer’s request to step out of the vehicle, Kowalczyk fled, leading police on a high-speed chase that was later terminated for public safety reasons.

Kowalczyk was later located at the Northwest Motor Inn in Puyallup, Washington. A records check run on the alias used by Kowalczyk to book his hotel room returned an outstanding arrest warrant for failing to appear in an unlawful use of a weapon case in Washington County, Oregon. Kowalczyk was arrested early the next morning when attempting to leave the hotel in a cab. Officers seized Kowalcyzk’s personal belongings including two pieces of luggage and a backpack.

In January 2008, Des Moines police detectives sought and obtained a state warrant to search computer equipment, a digital camera and digital storage devices found in Kowalczyk’s luggage. The searched returned a tremendous amount of child pornography including a number of images and videos that appeared to be homemade. Numerous videos and images depicted an unidentified male sexually abusing two very young children. Metadata embedded in many of the digital images revealed that they were created using the same camera found in Kowalczyk’s luggage.

Puyallup Police officers later published certain non-pornographic images of the victims and an adult woman found on Kowalczyk’s devices in an attempt to identify the victims. An adult woman, later identified as the victims’ mother, saw the images and contacted Puyallup Police. She confirmed she knew Kowalczyk and that he had regular access to her daughters in Portland. After reviewing some of the images seized, the victims’ mother was able to identify locations where the images were taken.

The victims’ mother told investigators she met Kowalczyk, a friend of her deceased brother, in 2003. In 2005, after the victims’ mother and her children wound up in a domestic violence shelter, Kowalcyzk offered to pay for them to stay in a motel. Between April and the beginning of June 2005, Kowalczyk arranged for the victims’ mother and her children to stay with or adjacent to him in three different Portland motels. Kowalcyzk and the victims’ mother later rented separate apartments.

The victims’ mother frequently left her children alone in Kowalczyk’s care while she searched for work or housing. The victims’ mother believed Kowalczyk treated the victims well, buying them clothing, diapers, shoes, and even a birthday cake for their second birthday and was unaware of the abuse that transpired. The cake—with the victims’ names on it—appeared in some of the non-pornographic images found on Kowalczyk’s devices.

Investigators were later able to track down the Portland motel rooms Kowalczyk rented for the family. Kowalczyk took photos of himself sexually abusing two of the minor victims at each location. He took sexually explicit photos of the third minor victim at his apartment in Southeast Portland. In March 2008, investigators conducted a federal search warrant of a storage locker Kowalczyk rented in Woodlawn, Washington. They found a sofa, a mirror and several shirts depicted in the pornographic images found on Kowalczyk’s devices.

A federal grand jury charged Kowalczyk with a single count of sexual exploitation of children on February 2, 2008. A superseding indictment with eight additional counts of sexual exploitation of children was returned on March 21, 2012. Kowalczyk sought the replacement of counsel more than a dozen times and filed extensive motions to suppress evidence, causing a decade-long delay in bringing the case to trial.

He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison with a 15-year mandatory minimum on each of the nine counts. Kowalczyk will be sentenced in March 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman.

The case was investigated by the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Portland Police Bureau, and the Puyallup and Des Moines, Washington Police Departments. It was prosecuted by Scott M. Kerin and Gary Y. Sussman, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at www.fbi.gov/tips.

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Attached Media Files: VERDICT-Kowalczyk-Final_66.pdf
Portland Nurse Charged with Drug Trafficking - 11/30/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – On November 29, 2018, Rene Elene Griffin Nunn, 59, of Vancouver, Washington, made an initial appearance in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo.

A one-count indictment alleges Nunn conspired to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. The indictment also alleges that, between September 2017 and January 2018, Nunn communicated with others about the price and quantity of methamphetamine and heroin, and in February 2018, drove from Vancouver to Portland with approximately 93 grams of heroin in her purse. According to yesterday’s hearing, she is a registered nurse employed at Adventist Medical Center in Portland.

Nunn was released pending trial. A three-day jury trial is scheduled for January 29, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez. If convicted, Nunn faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and a mandatory minimum three-year term of supervised release.

This case was investigated by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

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: INDICTMENT-Nunn-Final.pdf
Springfield Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Charge After Shipping Marijuana in Styrofoam Rocks Out of State - 11/20/18

EUGENE, Ore.—Curran Millican Manzer, 37, of Springfield, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to a single count of possession with intent to the distribute marijuana after repeatedly shipping marijuana out of state.

“Illegal export continues to plague Oregon’s under regulated and insufficiently enforced state laws governing state-licensed marijuana. The extreme overproduction of marijuana in Oregon has prompted many individuals to seek out-of-state distribution opportunities to recoup the costs of both illegal and legal in-state production. Disrupting these interstate distribution channels remains a priority of our office,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

According to court documents, in September 2017, the Springfield Police Department began an investigation after being contacted by United Parcel Service (UPS) regarding several packages Manzer shipped to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma that had a strong marijuana odor. UPS later confirmed that, in October 2017, Manzer sent several additional packages next day air to Oklahoma City also believed to contain marijuana. During the same time period, several packages containing numerous stacks of cash bound in $1,000 increments were sent to Manzer’s home address in Springfield.

In November 2017, Springfield Police obtained a search warrant for all packages sent or received by Manzer via UPS. Shortly thereafter, an officer was conducting surveillance at a UPS store in Springfield when he saw Manzer arrive in a pickup truck with “Curran’s Taxidermy” written on the side. The officer observed Manzer bringing six packages into the store, which he dropped off for next day shipment to Oklahoma. A Springfield Police canine unit responded to the scene and the canine alerted to the packages.

The Springfield Police officer executed a search warrant on the packages and located six large Styrofoam rocks containing 143 pounds of marijuana.

Manzer faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and a three-year term of supervised release. He will be sentenced on February 26, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken.

As part of the plea agreement, Manzer agrees to forfeit any criminally-derived proceeds and property used to facilitate his crimes identified by the government prior to sentencing.

This case was investigated by the Springfield Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It is being prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: CHANGE_OF_PLEA-Manzer-Final.pdf
Portland Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Bribery Charge for Attempting to Bribe ICE Deportation Officer - 11/20/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Antonio Oswaldo Burgos, 48, of Portland, pleaded guilty today to one count of bribery of a public official after attempting to bribe a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officer.

“Attempting to bribe a federal law enforcement officer is a serious crime and will be met with equally-serious consequences,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “I commend the ICE officer involved in this case for responding to Burgos’ criminal proposition with the utmost level of professionalism and resolve.”

“We rely upon our officers to perform their duties with integrity,” said Brad Bench, Special Agent in Charge for HSI Seattle. “Because of the deportation officer’s actions, Burgos is being brought to justice. This case should send a strong message that those who attempt to coerce a public official will be punished.”

According to court documents, on May 24, 2018, Burgos followed an ICE deportation officer in his vehicle from the ICE office in Portland until the officer stopped in a parking lot in Vancouver, Washington. The defendant offered the officer money to deport his wife who he had met in El Salvador and was in the process of divorcing. The officer declined Burgos’ offer and reported the event to the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

On May 31, 2018, the officer made a recorded call to Burgos with the assistance of an OPR investigation team. Burgos offered to the pay the officer $3,000 to remove his wife from the U.S. On June 5, 2018, the officer and OPR team made a second recorded call on which Burgos again offered to pay the officer for his wife’s removal. Burgos and the officer proceeded to discuss logistics for an in-person meeting.

On June 6, 2018, Burgos met the officer in a pre-determined location and offered to pay $4,000 for the removal of his wife and his wife’s minor child from a previous relationship. Burgos was arrested on June 29, 2018.

Burgos faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on May 6, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon.

This case was jointly investigated by ICE OPR and Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Rachel K. Sowray and Claire M. Fay, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: CHANGE_OF_PLEA-Burgos-Final.pdf