Suspected drug trafficking ring busted in Aloha

Credit: KGW/Ashley Korslien

This house was raided early Tuesday morning by Washington County sheriff's deputies.

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on December 17, 2013 at 7:12 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 19 at 11:49 AM

ALOHA, Ore. --  Washington County Sheriff's Office tactical officers raided three locations and arrested several people in connection with a major drug investigation Tuesday.

Detectives said the suspects stole people's identities, created fake profiles and used a website called "Silk Road" to sell methamphetamine around the world in an online drug trafficking ring they operated from Aloha.

A federal indictment said the suspects transported more than $500,000 in meth. According to investigators, the drugs were shipped through FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service.

Photos: Washington County drug raid

Four people were taken into custody at an Aloha home. Police used flash-bang grenades and smashed windows to get into the home during the raid. They also spent several hours searching the home and the vehicles parked in front of it.

Later in the morning, police searched two homes in Beaverton as well and collected evidence.

"This is a very complex investigation that has taken us a year to investigate because we are dealing with Internet crimes and when the Internet is involved, people are using computer names," said Sgt. Bob Ray with the Washington County Sheriff's Office. "It's very difficult, it's a long process."

Neighbors said they were surprised to learn what was happening in their community.

"There was no increased traffic, no weird people coming and going. It's very surprising, so I guess it can happen anywhere," said John Stowaser, who lives nearby.

The suspects arrested Tuesday were Richard Webster, 45; Robbie Shelton, 44; Tina Heagle, 46, and Lesa Jump, 63.

On Wednesday, a federal indictment named 39-year-old Jason Hagen of Ridgefield, Wash.; 23-year-old Chelsea Reder of Ridgefield, Wash.; Webster of Aloha, Ore., and 39-year-old Donald Bechen of Aloha.

They're accused of using the Silk Road site to sell more than 17 pounds of meth between August 2012 and August 2013 in exchange for the virtual currency Bitcoins that can be exchanged for cash.

The indictment says the group made more than $600,000 in more than 3,000 transactions. A trial date was set for Feb. 18, 2014.

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