Oregon man pleads guilty in marijuana trafficking case

Prosecutors: Vast conspiracy to traffic marijuana from Oregon to Texas and Virginia.

By Andrew Selsky / Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. — An Oregon man pleaded guilty Thursday to marijuana and money laundering charges in what federal prosecutors said was a vast conspiracy to traffic marijuana from Oregon to Texas and Virginia.

Federal authorities said they seized 11,000 marijuana plants, 546 pounds of processed marijuana, more than $2.8 million in cash, 26 vehicles, trailers, a yacht, and three houses used as marijuana grow sites since August 2017.

Paul Eugene Thomas, 38, of Portland, and other defendants grew marijuana in Oregon, transported it to Texas and Virginia, and received cash payments through the mail and in luggage on commercial flights, the U.S. attorney’s office in Portland said.

Growing and selling marijuana is legal in Oregon but only with a state license. The licensing commission said the defendants were not licensed. Shipping marijuana out of Oregon remains illegal — licensed or not.

Prosecutors said Thomas pleaded guilty to conspiring to manufacture, possess and distribute marijuana and to money laundering.

Sentencing was set for Aug. 6, when Thomas could face a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine on the pot charge and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for money laundering.

Co-defendant Jody Tremayne Wafer, 29, is scheduled for trial in June. Brittany Lesanta Kizzee, 28, entered a guilty plea Nov. 27 and is scheduled to be sentenced May 7.

Trent Lamar Knight, 30, and Raleigh Dragon Lau, 33, have scheduled change of plea hearings.

In a related case, Cole William Griffiths was charged with conspiring to manufacture marijuana in Hood River, Oregon, and shipping it to Florida. He has scheduled a change of plea hearing for April 22.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

Feds scrap plans to reintroduce grizzlies to North Cascades

An environmental group was disappointed by the decision but did not think it was the final word on the bears.

Mary Kay Letourneau, teacher jailed for raping student, dies

After prison, the Seattle teacher married her former student and they raised two daughters together.

Emergency personnel work at the site where a driver sped through a protest-related closure on the Interstate 5 freeway in Seattle early Saturday, July 4, 2020. (James Anderson via AP)
Prosecutors to decide on charges for man who hit protesters

Dawit Kelete, 27, hit two protesters, killing one, on a closed freeway in Seattle.

11-year-old boy in Yakima shot twice in three days

The second time, his 9-year-old sister was also shot. Both survived.

Siberia wildfire smoke reaches Southcentral Alaska, islands

The wildfire smoke also has been reported in western Oregon and Canada.

3rd victim recovered from plane crash over Lake Coeur d’Alene

2 more bodies have been located at the bottom of the lake. 3 others are still missing.

Two die during Fourth of July celebrations in Skagit County

In one case, a kayaker was hit in the chest by a firework he ignited and fell into the water.

Seattle City Council approves new tax on big business

The council voted 7-2 on the measure, which is expected to raise more than $200 million per year.

$1.2 million bail for driver that hit 2 Seattle protesters

The Seattle man was the owner of the Jaguar and was alone in the car, according to a Washington State Patrol.

Most Read