PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland man was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release today for conspiring to traffic more than 2,200 pounds of black-market cannabis around the country.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon announced today that 40-year-old Kyle Lee Cerkone and his friends Jeremiah David Cruz, 40, of Vancouver, Washington, and Robert Benjamin Kawika Dawe, 40, of Beaverton, all conspired to ship the locally grown cannabis to New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, and Minnesota. In these states, the value of the cannabis reportedly increased to more than $2.5 million.
“The three men went to great lengths to conceal their illegal shipments,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated. “They hand-built large crates to package marijuana and marijuana extract for shipping, created false bills of lading, and flew to destination cities to personally receive their shipments. When commercial freight companies, under suspicion, began rejecting or limiting their freight shipments, the group started using a smaller private freight company.”
Cerkoney and Cruz were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, and all three men plead guilty to their crimes in November of 2021. On Feb. 3, Cruz was sentenced to 21 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Dawe was sentenced on April 11 to 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
In addition to his sentencing, Cerkoney was also forced to forfeit “criminally-derived proceeds,” including a Porsche 911 sports car, nine luxury watches, a diamond necklace, a semi-automatic rifle and more than $570,000.
While awaiting sentencing, Cerkoney shipped the Porsche from Oreogn to Califonira, where he allegedly tried to repair and sell the car despite a prior agreement to forfeit the property.
The Department of Homeland Security led the investigation with assistance from IRS Criminal Investigations and the Portland Police Bureau. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia E. Jarrett for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Oregon.