PORTLAND, Ore.—A Hood River, Oregon man was sentenced to federal prison last week for his role in a conspiracy to traffic marijuana grown in Hood River and Portland to Florida, and launder the proceeds back to Oregon, announced U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams. On August 14, 2020, Cole William Griffiths, 32, was sentenced to two years in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.
According to court documents, in April 2018, following several months of investigation, authorities executed a search warrant at Griffiths’ Hood River residence, seizing 4,376 marijuana plants, $7,700 in cash, firearms, ammunition and several vehicles. Griffiths was not present during the search, having just left for Florida. Investigators later seized a yacht Griffiths owned in Florida valued at approximately $225,000.
On August 21, 2018, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a three-count indictment charging Griffiths with conspiring to manufacture, possess with the intent to distribute, and distribute marijuana and maintaining drug-involved premises; conspiring to commit money laundering; and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. On April 22, 2019, Griffiths pleaded guilty to the first two counts.
During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones ordered Griffiths to forfeit any criminally-derived proceeds and property used to facilitate his crimes, including more than $256,956 in U.S. currency; a 2000 Sealine F44 Yacht; eight vehicles; two all-terrain vehicles; four trailers; heavy construction equipment; and 14 firearms.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, and the FBI. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.
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.