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IRS to auction 14 Sun Valley condos seized from international drug smugglers September 16, 2005 - oregonlive.com
KETCHUM, Idaho (AP) - Three condominium complexes adjacent to a Sun Valley ski lift will be sold at auction Oct. 4 by the Internal Revenue Service in what federal agents say is the end of a nearly 10-year investigation into an international drug-smuggling ring.
The three buildings in Ketchum's Bavarian Village were among the $4 million worth of assets forfeited by Patrick O'Malley Cannon of Ketchum and David Stanley Brocklebank of Hailey when they were sentenced to 40 months in prison in February 2004 on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to smuggle and distribute drugs.
The pair were part of a Thai marijuana smuggling investigation that federal agents began in 1997 in Idaho and eventually spread to include law enforcement agencies in Hawaii, California and Washington, as well as agencies in Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.
In plea agreements filed with U.S. District Court in Boise, the two men admitted being part of loosely connected international drug trafficking rings with ties to Sun Valley that had operated since the 1970s. Using yachts, shell corporations and foreign and domestic banks, the rings imported tons of marijuana from southeast Asia into the U.S. and laundered proceeds through various business ventures.
"What most people don't realize is that money laundering activities, such as the ones identified in this investigation, assist narcotics traffickers in the continuation of their illegal actions and allow them to enjoy the fruits of their crimes," Douglas Bricker, special agent in charge of IRS criminal investigation in Idaho, said in a statement Friday.
Besides Cannon and Brocklebank, Michael and Paul Miller of Ketchum were also convicted in the smuggling investigation and forfeited more than $8 million worth of seized property. Last year, the Ketchum Police Department and the Blaine County Sheriff's Office each were given nearly three-quarters of a million dollars as their share of the proceeds from the forfeited property.
A portion of proceeds from the auction of the 14 condos near River Run lift previously owned by Cannon and Brocklebank also will likely be given to local law enforcement agencies in Sun Valley, said Jean McNeil, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice in Boise.
The 14 units in the three buildings include a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units and will be auctioned together in one sale. The IRS announcement of the auction says the buildings represent "an excellent redevelopment opportunity" and that new high-end condominiums in the areas are selling between $800,000 and $1 million per unit.
The auction will take place at the condominiums at noon Oct. 4 and bidders can register an hour prior by depositing a $100,000 cashier's check.