Federal Indictments Charge Eight Defendants with Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin Coordinated Investigation of Large Heroin Distribution Organization Results in Seizure of More than Two Pounds of Heroin, Cash, and Weapons
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 09, 2009|
MEDFORD, OR—A federal indictment was unsealed today charging eight defendants with trafficking heroin in Southern Oregon. Ismael Anaya, 27, of Medford, Oregon, and Eliot Delavirgen, 33, of White City, Oregon, previously appeared in federal court on October 5, 2009 and remain in custody pending a December 8th trial date. The following defendants made an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark D. Clarke:
Shannon Christopher Harrop, 20,
Jerret Hooey, 21,
Judith Potteiger, 28,
Ronald Coutee, 54,
Erica Lapizco, 31, all from Medford; and
Anthony Albert, 46 of Gold Hill, Oregon,
Also charged, defendant Judith Potteiger, 28, of Medford, will appear at a later date. All defendants entered a plea of not guilty and have a scheduled trial date of January 12, 2010.
The drug charges come after an extensive two-year multi-agency investigation of heroin traffickers in Southern Oregon. The investigation found evidence of a large heroin trafficking organization centered in the Medford area distributing heroin and culminated in city, county, state, and federal law enforcement officers and agents executing 14 search warrants and arresting over 22 people in early October. During the execution of search warrants, law enforcement seized over $22,000 cash, vehicles, firearms, and over two pounds of heroin. Federal court authorized wiretaps were used by law enforcement to gather evidence identifying major members of the organization including its two leaders and their criminal activity. The indictment alleges that Anaya and Delavirgen purchased multi-pound quantities of heroin from sources of supply in Oregon, California and Mexico for distribution to various conspirators, and transferred drug proceeds to promote the drug-trafficking conspiracy. The indictment seeks the forfeiture of $840,000 in proceeds from the sale of heroin as well as vehicles and firearms.
The following agencies participated in this investigation: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team, Medford Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Southern Oregon TNT, Oregon State Police, RADE Team, Ashland Police Department, Grants Pass Police Department, Josephine County Sheriff’s Department, Talent Police Department, Phoenix Police Department, Central Point Police Department, Klamath Falls Police Department, DHS-Child Welfare, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Jackson County District Attorney’s Office and the Oregon Department of Justice/HIDTA.
An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant should be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pamala Holsinger and Byron Chatfield.