Author Archives: klamathalerts

Weather Outlook: Series Of Fronts Expected Beginning Today



A series of fronts will move through our region beginning today. The front this afternoon will mark a transition to a much cooler and wetter pattern with high temperatures around 10 to as much as 20 degrees below normal for this time of year.

As today’s front moves into our local region dry gusty winds are expected to develop prompting this red flag warning issued a short time ago for dangerous fire weather conditions.



Rain is also expected later today into the evening with roughly 0.25 inches or less expected in our local area.

More fronts will follow Thursday into Friday, but will be weaker in terms of winds and precipitation. Moderate mid-level westerly flow will favor precipitation along the coast, the Cascades and other north-south oriented terrain during this time. Snow levels will hover around 5000-6000 feet during this time, and we are expecting around 2-6 inches of snow in the Cascades from late Wednesday night through Friday night , with up to 8 inches possible for the highest peaks. Travel impacts should be minimal and restricted to the passes north of Highway 140.



NWS Issues Red Flag Warning


Klamath Basin and the Fremont-Winema National Forest-
South Central Oregon Desert including the BLM Land in Eastern Lake
and Western Harney Counties-
913 AM PDT Wed Oct 16 2019


The National Weather Service in Medford has issued a Red Flag
Warning…which is in effect until 7 PM PDT this evening.

* Impacts: Strong, gusty wind with low relative humidity and high fire
danger will likely contribute to a significant spread of new and
existing fires.

* Affected area: Mainly the higher terrain of southern Fire
Weather Zone 625 and southeastern Fire Weather Zone 624,
including the Hart and Warner Mountains.

* Wind: Southwest 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.

* Humidity: As low as 12 percent.

* View the hazard area in detail at:

Precautionary/preparedness actions…

Strong winds and low relative humidities will cause fires to
spread very rapidly.

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are
either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong
winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create
extreme fire growth potential.

DOJ Announces Large Child Porn Bust With 337 Arrested Worldwide From Case – Abused Minors Rescued

South Korean National and Hundreds of Others Charged Worldwide in the Takedown of the Largest Darknet Child Pornography Website, Which was Funded by Bitcoin 

Dozens of Minor Victims Who Were Being Actively Abused by the Users of the Site Rescued

Jong Woo Son, 23, a South Korean national, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for his operation of Welcome To Video, the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content.  The nine-count indictment was unsealed today along with a parallel civil forfeiture action.  Son has also been charged and convicted in South Korea and is currently in custody serving his sentence in South Korea.  An additional 337 site users residing in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Washington, D.C. as well as the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia have been arrested and charged.   

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia, Chief Don Fort of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), made the announcement.

“Darknet sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the most vile and reprehensible forms of criminal behavior,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “This Administration will not allow child predators to use lawless online spaces as a shield.  Today’s announcement demonstrates that the Department of Justice remains firmly committed to working closely with our partners in South Korea and around the world to rescue child victims and bring to justice the perpetrators of these abhorrent crimes.”

“Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by U.S. and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu.  “We will continue to pursue such criminals on and off the darknet in the United States and abroad, to ensure they receive the punishment their terrible crimes deserve.”

“Through the sophisticated tracing of bitcoin transactions, IRS-CI special agents were able to determine the location of the Darknet server, identify the administrator of the website and ultimately track down the website server’s physical location in South Korea,” said IRS-CI Chief Don Fort.  “This largescale criminal enterprise that endangered the safety of children around the world is no more.  Regardless of the illicit scheme, and whether the proceeds are virtual or tangible, we will continue to work with our federal and international partners to track down these disgusting organizations and bring them to justice.”

“Children are our most vulnerable population, and crimes such as these are unthinkable,” said HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs.  “Sadly, advances in technology have enabled child predators to hide behind the dark web and cryptocurrency to further their criminal activity.  However, today’s indictment sends a strong message to criminals that no matter how sophisticated the technology or how widespread the network, child exploitation will not be tolerated in the United States. Our entire justice system will stop at nothing to prevent these heinous crimes, safeguard our children, and bring justice to all.”

According to the indictment, on March 5, 2018, agents from the IRS-CI, HSI, National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom, and Korean National Police in South Korea arrested Son and seized the server that he used to operate a Darknet market that exclusively advertised child sexual exploitation videos available for download by members of the site.  The operation resulted in the seizure of approximately eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos, which is one of the largest seizures of its kind.  The images, which are currently being analyzed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), contained over 250,000 unique videos, and 45 percent of the videos currently analyzed contain new images that have not been previously known to exist.

Welcome To Video offered these videos for sale using the cryptocurrency bitcoin.  Typically, sites of this kind give users a forum to trade in these depictions.  This Darknet website is among the first of its kind to monetize child exploitation videos using bitcoin.  In fact, the site itself boasted over one million downloads of child exploitation videos by users.  Each user received a unique bitcoin address when the user created an account on the website.  An analysis of the server revealed that the website had more than one million bitcoin addresses, signifying that the website had capacity for at least one million users. 

The agencies have shared data from the seized server with law enforcement around the world to assist in identifying and prosecuting customers of the site.  This has resulted in leads sent to 38 countries and yielded arrests of 337 subjects around the world.  The operation has resulted in searches of residences and businesses of approximately 92 individuals in the United States.  Notably, the operation is responsible for the rescue of at least 23 minor victims residing in the United States, Spain and the United Kingdom, who were being actively abused by the users of the site.

In the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area, the operation has led to the execution of five search warrants and eight arrests of individuals who both conspired with the administrator of the site and were themselves, users of the website.  Two users of the Darknet market committed suicide subsequent to the execution of search warrants.

Amongst the sites users charged are:

  • Charles Wunderlich, 34, of Hot Springs, California, was charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
  • Brian James LaPrath, 34, of San Diego, California, was arrested in the District of Columbia, for international money laundering; and was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release;
  • Ernest Wagner, 70, of Federal Way, Washington, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
  • Vincent Galarzo, 28, of Glendale, New York, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
  • Michael Ezeagbor, 22, of Pflugerville, Texas, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
  • Nicholas Stengel, 45, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography and money laundering and was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release;
  • Eryk Mark Chamberlin, 25, of Worcester, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to possession  of child pornography and is pending sentencing;
  • Jairo Flores, 30, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts to receipt and possession of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Billy Penaloza, 29, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts to possession and receipt of child pornography. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 22, 2019;
  • Michael Armstrong, 35, of Randolph, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts, to receipt and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to serve five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.  Restitution will be determined at a future date;
  • Al Ramadhanu Soedomo, 28, of Lynn, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and was sentenced in the District of Massachusetts (Boston), to serve 12 months and one day followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Phillip Sungmin Hong, 24, of Sharon, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts (Boston), to receipt and possession of child pornography and is pending sentencing;
  • Eliseo Arteaga Jr., 28, of Mesquite, Texas, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Texas to possession of prepubescent child pornography. He is pending sentencing;
  • Richard Nikolai Gratkowski, 40, of San Antonio, Texas, a former HSI special agent, was arrested in the Western District of Texas.  Gratkowski pleaded guilty to the indictment charging one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of access with intent to view child pornography.  Gratkowski was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $35,000 in restitution to seven victims and a $10,000 assessment;
  • Paul Casey Whipple, 35, of Hondo, Texas, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, was arrested in the Western District of Texas, on charges of sexual exploitation of children/minors, production, distribution, and possession of child pornography.  Whipple remains in custody awaiting trial in San Antonio;
  • Michael Lawson, 36, of Midland, Georgia, was arrested in the Middle District of Georgia on charges of attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography.  He was sentenced to serve 121 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release following his plea to a superseding information charging him with one count of receipt of child pornography;
  • Kevin Christopher Eagan, 39, of Brookhaven, Georgia, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in the Northern District of Georgia;
  • Casey Santioius Head, 37, of Griffin, Georgia, was indicted in the Northern District of Georgia for distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography;
  • Andrew C. Chu, 28, of Garwood, New Jersey, was arrested and charged with receipt of child pornography. Those charges remain pending;
  • Nader Hamdi Ahmed, 29 of Jersey City, New Jersey, was arrested in the District of New Jersey, for sexual exploitation or other abuse of children.  Ahmed pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of distribution of child pornography.  He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 1, 2019;
  • Jeffrey Lee Harris, 32, of Pickens, South Carolina, pleaded guilty in the District of South Carolina for producing, distributing, and possessing child pornography;
  • Laine Ormand Clark Jr., 27, of Conway, South Carolina, was arrested and charged in U.S. District Court in South Carolina Division for sexual possession of child pornography;
  • Jack R. Dove III, 38, of Lakeland, Florida, was arrested in the Middle District of Florida for knowingly receiving and possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct;
  • Michael Matthew White, 39, of Miami Beach, Florida, was arrested in the Southern District of Florida for coercion and enticement;
  • Nikolas Bennion Bradshaw, 24, of Bountiful, Utah, was arrested in the State of Utah, and charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and was sentenced to time served with 91 days in jail followed by probation;
  • Michael Don Gibbs, 37, of Holladay, Utah, was charged in the District of Utah with receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography;
  • Ammar Atef H. Alahdali, 22, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution;
  • Mark Lindsay Rohrer, 38, of West Hartford, Connecticut, pleaded guilty in the District of Connecticut to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Eugene Edward Jung, 47, of San Francisco, California, was indicted in the Northern District of California on possession of child pornography and receipt of child pornography;
  • James Daosaeng, 25, of Springdale, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and was sentenced in the Western District of Arkansas (Fayetteville) to serve 97 months in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release;
  • Alex Daniel Paxton, 30, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested and indicted in Franklin County Ohio Court of Common Pleas for pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor;
  • Don Edward Pannell, 32, of Harvey, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Louisiana for receipt of child pornography. He is pending sentencing;
  • Ryan Thomas Carver, 29, of Huntsville, Alabama, was arrested and charged under Alabama State Law.  He was charged federally in the Northern District of Alabama with possession of child pornography. His case is pending in Huntsville, Alabama;
  • Andrew Buckley, 28, of the United Kingdom, pleaded guilty to 10 offences in the UK of possession and distribution of indecent images of children, possession of extreme and prohibited images and possession of a class A drug.  He was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison for the distribution of indecent images and possession of class A drugs. Buckley is also subject to an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order;
  • Kyle Fox, 26, of the United Kingdom, pleaded guilty to 22 counts including rape, sexual assault, and sharing indecent images, and was sentenced to serve 22 years in prison; and
  • Mohammed Almaker, 26, of Fort Collins, Colorado, was arrested in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), charged with KSA Law involving the endangerment of children.  He is awaiting judicial proceedings in furtherance of criminal charges.

A forfeiture complaint was also unsealed today.  The complaint alleges that law enforcement was able to trace payments of bitcoin to the Darknet site by following the flow of funds on the blockchain.  The virtual currency accounts identified in the complaint were allegedly used by 24 individuals in five countries to fund the website and promote the exploitation of children.  The forfeiture complaint seeks to recover these funds and, ultimately through the restoration process, return the illicit funds to victims of the crime.

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

The international investigations were led by the IRS-CI, HSI and the NCA.  The Korean National Police of the Republic of Korea, the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom and the German Federal Criminal Police (the Bundeskriminalamt), provided assistance and coordinated with their parallel investigations.  The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs of the Criminal Division provided significant assistance.   

The cases are being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zia M. Faruqui, Lindsay Suttenberg, and Youli Lee, Paralegal Specialists Brian Rickers and Diane Brashears, Legal Assistant Jessica McCormick, and Records Examiner Chad Byron of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney C. Alden Pelker of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.  Additional assistance has been provided by Deputy Chief Keith Becker and Trial Attorney James E. Burke IV of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and former U.S. Attorney’s Office Paralegal Specialists Toni Anne Donato and Ty Eaton. 

Above: screenshot of seized website

Driver Struck By Vehicle On Crater Lake Parkway After Being Involved In Crash


A driver was struck by a vehicle after being involved in a rear end crash and exiting his vehicle last night on Crater Lake Parkway.

10-14-19 at about 7:19pm (last night) reports of a motor vehicle accident on Crater Lake Parkway near Esplanade were reported to 911. Fire District 1, Klamath Falls City Police, Oregon State Police, and ODOT Incident Response were dispatched to the crash. Read more

Jackson County Sheriff Issues Final Update About Missing Woman Found Today


Above: SAR K-9 Team

Jackson County Sheriff Issues Final Update About Missing Woman Found Today

BUTTE FALLS, Ore. – Search officials are thankful and relieved after finding a missing 80-year-old woman with dementia.   Geraldine “Gerry” Hendricks survived three nights in the elements without apparent injury. Read more

Double Homicide In Dorris Area Being Investigated


Sheriff’s Office Probes Double Homicide in Dorris Area   

At about 2:05am Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) deputies and a sergeant responded to a call of a possible robbery involving a shooting in the Dorris area. 

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) originally received an emergency “9-1-1” call that reported two people were shot during a robbery in the area of “Big Stump” and Dorris-Brownell Road, a rural, isolated, mountainous area located approximately 3 miles northwest of the City of Dorris, commonly referred to as Pleasant Valley Highlands.  The CHP relayed the original emergency call to SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center. 

Fire Department and medical first responders arrived at the scene, a parcel of land that was actually found to be on Hilltop Road in vicinity of Buckhorn Flat Road. SCSO and medical first responders discovered one female adult deceased inside a structure on the property.  A second female adult located at the location was found alive but despite a heroic effort to save her, she succumbed to injuries sustained in what appears at this time to be a firearms-related attack. 

Detectives and a forensic technician from the SCSO’s Major Crime Unit (MCU) responded to the location and an extensive crime scene investigation at the location is still underway.  SCSO MCU detectives are interviewing two reported associates of the decedents but no suspect has been identified.  

There is no direct indicator to believe area residents are endangered but all citizens in the local Dorris area should keep their vehicles and homes locked and secured.  All citizens are urged to report any suspicious activity or persons to the SCSO. 

According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “As previously mentioned, this case is still under investigation.  

Since a firearm was used during what appears to be a deliberate and callous attack against those occupying the property, we are urging anyone with information about this incident to contact the SCSO 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.  

There is a good chance someone heard something or saw something that could be useful to investigators working this case.  

On behalf of the SCSO and its members, our thoughts and prayers are extended to the victims, their family members, and friends. 

An autopsy will be conducted this week to help detectives confirm the causes and manners of death in this tragic case.” 


Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 12.41.30 PM

KLAMATH FALLS, OR, October 14, 2019 The Oregon Department of Forestry in conjunction with Klamath County Fire District #1, US Forest Service, and City Parks staff plans to conduct a prescribed fire within the boundaries of Moore Park beginning Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

The primary objective of the prescribed burn is to safely reduce the buildup of dead/down fuels to provide an area that is less susceptible to severe impacts from future wildfire. Favorable weather conditions may create a window to treat up to 15 acres in Moore Park.

Smoke may be visible during and after ignitions for several days. Fire managers are working closely with local air districts to mitigate the effects of the smoke to the public and local air sheds. Firefighter and public safety are the highest priorities. Signs will be placed in the Moore Park and Lynnewood areas. Fire personnel, vehicles and equipment may be present.

The main roadway from the entrance to exit (the lower loop by the soccer fields and playground) will remain open. The upper gated loops in proximity to the burn will be signed and closed. The public is asked to watch for prescribed fire signs, be aware of fire operations and drive safely

Please drive with Caution!

Earthquake Preparedness Event Coming To Ross Ragland November 2nd


Did you know that scientists estimate that there is a 40% chance of an earthquake hitting Oregon, Washington, Northern California and the British Columbia in the next 20 years? Be prepared for this earthquake with Tipping Point Resilience’s Earthquake Preparedness Event. Read more

OHA, OLCC file rules banning flavored vaping sales, including online

PORTLAND, Ore.—The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission today filed temporary rules that put into effect Gov. Kate Brown’s Oct. 4 executive order banning all flavored vaping product sales in the state.

The temporary rules, which will remain in effect for six months starting Oct. 15, prohibit the sale of all flavored vaping products—including online sales—to consumers in Oregon. The ban covers all tobacco and cannabis (marijuana and hemp) vaping products that contain natural or artificial flavors including, but not limited to, chocolate, coffee, cocoa, menthol, mint, wintergreen, vanilla, honey, coconut, licorice, nuts, fruit, any candy, dessert, alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage, herb or spice.

Tobacco-flavored tobacco or nicotine products, as well as marijuana-flavored marijuana or THC products that use only marijuana-derived flavorings, including terpenes, are not included in the ban.

Retailers found violating the temporary rules will receive a warning letter and recommendations on coming into compliance. Continued violations could result in civil penalties of up to $500 per day, per violation. In addition, cannabis. In addition, cannabis retailers or processors could face violations up to and including cancellation of their license.

Additional components of vaping products could be banned in the future. The Governor’s executive order directs OHA and OLCC to “take immediate action and adopt additional emergency rules” to prohibit any chemical or contaminant found to have caused or contributed to vaping-associated lung injuries being investigated in Oregon and 48 other states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are nine cases of this illness in Oregon, including two deaths.

OHA and OLCC officials say the temporary rules filed today are significant steps toward stemming the well-documented tide of e-cigarette use and vaping by youth, as well as keeping products that may expose people to unsafe chemicals and other contaminants off store shelves.

Among Oregon high school students who use e-cigarettes exclusively, nearly 90% use flavored e-cigarette products, OHA found. And there is strong evidence that e-cigarettes increase youth nicotine addiction and increase the risk that youth will start using combustible tobacco such as cigarettes.

“We have been warning Oregonians about the health effects of these products before this current outbreak of serious lung injury added more evidence of the dangers of vaping,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., health officer and state epidemiologist. “These rules stop the sale of a potentially dangerous product, and they’re part of a comprehensive approach to curbing youth vaping and additional cases of vaping-associated lung injuries.”

He points to additional directives in the Governor’s executive order that call on OHA and OLCC to develop consumer warnings for THC and non-THC products; expand easy access to FDA-approved cessation resources; implement a statewide prevention and education campaign; and submit legislative proposals with long-term solutions to reduce public health harms from vaping.

The temporary rules affect not only OLCC recreational marijuana licensed retailers and processors, but also alcohol licensees that sell nicotine vaping products, including retailers that sell beer and wine, bars and taverns, and liquor store agents.

The OLCC said the flavor ban is just the latest step in its evolution from focusing on public safety to an agency with an equivalent focus on consumer protection. Through increased review of products sold in the OLCC-licensed retail market and the development of testing capacity, the OLCC will continue to work to refine consumer product disclosure.

“This Commission is working very hard to ensure the cannabis industry can grow, thrive and compete in the Oregon marketplace,” said Paul Rosenbaum, chair of the OLCC. “We are doing so with a clear focus on the integrity of the marketplace for businesses, consumers and public safety. However, it is our overwhelming responsibility to protect public health and our consumers from undue risk. This agency’s rapid and nimble action to implement the Governor’s executive order is exactly why regulated cannabis will always be a superior consumer choice over illegal markets.”

Additional rules were filed earlier this week. On Wednesday, OHA filed temporary rules that require health care providers to report hospitalizations and deaths due to “vaping-associated lung injury.” Physicians have long had to report “uncommon illness of potential public health significance,” but the new rules are intended to reduce confusion by specifically naming this new lung illness as reportable by Oregon law to public health agencies.

Due to the ongoing investigation of vaping-associated lung injuries, OHA health officials continue to recommend people stop vaping immediately. Those experiencing symptoms of the illnesses, such as shortness of breath, cough or chest pain should immediately seek medical attention.

Weed Man Arrested For Murder

Sheriff’s Detectives Arrest Man for Murder October 11, 2019


On Thursday October 10th, 2019, at about 10:15 a.m. Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit (MCU) detectives arrested a Weed man for murder.

Deputies and detectives had been investigating a missing person report which led to the service of a search warrant at a residence in the Carrick Addition of Weed. A body presumed to be that of the missing man was recovered at the residence and evidence at the scene led to the arrest of 37 year old Robert Henry Tessmer Jr. of Weed.

Tessmer was transported to the Siskiyou County Jail and booked on murder charges.

An autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death, and to confirm the identity of the decedent, is scheduled for today, October 11, 2019. The name of the decedent is being withheld until his identity is confirmed and the next of kin is notified.

This case is still under investigation and anyone with information about this crime is urged to contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900


Five People Charged For Roles In Conspiracy To Distribute Meth And Heroin In Klamath Falls

MEDFORD, Ore.—Five people have been charged for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin manufactured in Mexico in and around Klamath Falls, Oregon, announced Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Rogelio Gomez-Arias, 23, Irving Beas Ceballos, 34, Alexis Chavez-Franco, 22, and Domingo Matias-Hernandez, 36, are each charged by indictment with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine between May and October 2018. Additionally, Ceballos is charged with possessing methamphetamine and heroin with the intent to distribute and Gomez-Arias, Chavez-Franco and Matias-Hernandez are charged with distributing methamphetamine.

Juan Rodriguez-Ramirez, 62, is charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

All defendants are known to reside in and around Klamath Falls and Dorris, California.

On October 9, 2019, a coordinated, multi-agency law enforcement operation was conducted to dismantle the drug trafficking organization. Five federal search warrants were executed in Klamath Falls and Dorris. Investigators seized more than 37 pounds of methamphetamine, 440 grams of heroin, 14 firearms, and nearly $50,000 in cash and arrested all five defendants.

All five defendants made their first appearances in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark D. Clarke and were detained pending further proceedings. Conspiring to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine carries a maximum sentence of life in prison with a 10-year mandatory minimum.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (BINET) and the Siskiyou Unified Major Investigation Team (SUMIT). It is being prosecuted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

An indictment and criminal complaint are only accusations of a crime, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was brought as part of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the department’s strategy for reducing the availability of drugs in the U.S. OCDETF was established in 1982 to mount a comprehensive attack on drug trafficking by disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in coordination with state and local law enforcement.

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