Portland woman faces federal racketeering charges connected to alleged crime spree
Recently, a 25-year-old Portland woman accused of racketeering, kidnapping, carjacking and a number of federal crimes was arraigned in federal court. The charges-which include a total of 14 counts-stem from a 10-day crime spree that took place last fall in Washington, Oregon, and California and involved four deaths.
The Portland woman pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. Along with her, a 32-year-old Salem man has been was also charged in a federal indictment. He pleaded guilty back in March to state charges and sentenced to two life sentences. Both were arrested in northern California in October and extradited to Washington state to face trial on two counts each of aggravated murder. Both defendants could face a possible death sentence on the federal charges, though it will be up to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to make that call.
Prosecutors accuse the couple of funding the crime spree with stolen credit cards and vehicles. According to the indictment, the crime spree was racially motivated. Both the defendants were reportedly influenced by white supremacist philosophy.
Racketeering involves operating an illegal business or enterprise for the profit of an individual or entity. While federal racketeering laws were originally enacted to combat the mob, they are often used in other circumstances. The federal government is given great power and resources for pursuing these charges.
Fighting federal racketeering charges is not easy, particularly for those not familiar with the legal process and the strategies used by prosecutors. Racketeering cases can be complicated, and having an attorney to build a defense case, negotiate with prosecutors and work to minimize or dismiss charges is important.