Crime

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 what he says was a scheme to defraud banks and use the money to grow marijuana for the black market.
    
The case announced Tuesday is the first involving marijuana-related charges prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Billy Williams since he issued a memo criticizing Oregon's pot surplus.
    
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.
    
Federal prosecutors say the current case began as a major fraud investigation and grew into a drug probe that also stretched into California and Illinois.
    
Williams says illicit funds were also used to start a state-licensed retail store in Corvallis, Oregon.


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