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Thu Jun 14, 2018, 03:50 AM

Top US attorney in Oregon charges 9 in fraud, pot scheme

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Oregon's top federal prosecutor has charged nine people with financial and drug crimes in a scheme that involved defrauding banks and using the money to start illegal marijuana grow houses and fund an interstate pot distribution ring, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

The case is the first involving marijuana-related charges prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Billy Williams since he issued a memo criticizing Oregon's pot surplus and called on state regulators to get a better handle on the amount of the drug flowing across state lines.

Williams was the first U.S. attorney to publicly outline his strategy for federal marijuana enforcement after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back Obama-era protections for states with legal pot. Oregon is one of about 30 states that have legalized marijuana in some form, creating a two-tier enforcement system at the state and federal levels.

The current case began as a major fraud investigation and grew into a drug probe that stretched into California and Illinois, federal prosecutors said in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene. Three of the defendants have been arrested and the rest are at large.

Read more: https://www.nwitimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/top-us-attorney-in-oregon-charges-in-fraud-pot-scheme/article_545eee28-3f19-55e4-b0ee-de92092e1dcb.html

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