News Release
Date: August 13 2012
Contact: Public Information Officer
Number: 206-553-1162

78 Year Old Oregon Man Sentenced for Drug Trafficking,
Financial, & Tax Crimes

August 13 (SPOKANE, Wash.) -   Alvin Oliver Shields, age 78, of Lebanon, Oregon, was sentenced on August 9, 2012, on six criminal counts for illegal conduct relating to the importation of marijuana from Canada and related financial and tax crimes. Shields was sentenced based on his earlier guilty pleas to: conspiracy to distribute 1000 kilograms or more of marijuana dating back to 2003; engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity (money laundering); structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements; and three charges of failure to file income tax returns.

Shields was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release upon his release from prison. Shields was ordered to pay federal income taxes for the 2005, 2006, and 2007 tax years and to forfeit his interest in a Danville, Washington property that was used in the criminal enterprise.

This investigation arose in 2003 when a Border Patrol agent encountered four individuals on Creek Road near the Canadian border west of Danville, Washington. As the agent approached the individuals, they ran into Canada. The agent thereafter discovered four large duffel bags containing 64 kilograms of marijuana in the bushes where he had observed the individuals. A short time later, the agent encountered Shields, who was driving slowly in a van with the rear cargo doors propped open. At the time, Shields was living on property located just south of the United States border with Canada.

In 2008, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Border Patrol and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations conducted a joint investigation that included Shields as a suspect. The investigation led to evidence that Shields was allowing his property to be used by drug traffickers in Canada to transport marijuana to Spokane where it was stored for distribution to other trafficking organizations in the United States. In May 2009, agents seized 321 kilograms of marijuana linked to Shields’ property. The investigation also revealed that Shields engaged in structure cash transactions and money laundering in order to conceal the income from the IRS that he was earning from the illegal enterprise. In addition, Shields failed to file a federal income tax return for the 2005, 2006 and 2007 tax years.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA in conjunction with ICE/Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, United States Border Patrol; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; United States Customs and Border Protection/Office of Field Operations; United States Marshals Service; Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Washington State Patrol; Oregon State Patrol; and the Ferry and Stevens County Sheriff’s Offices. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon assisted in the investigation.