Jury decides convicted Oregon meth dealer should lose home

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Yamhill County jury has concluded that police can seize the home of a woman convicted of a felony drug crime under Oregon’s civil forfeiture law.

Sheryl Sublet, 62, pleaded guilty in 2018 to to selling less than 1,000 grams of methamphetamine, The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported. She was sentenced to six years in prison.

Sublet, a grandmother and military veteran, forfeited $50,000 in cashier checks found inside her home about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) outside Yamhill at the time of her arrest. The Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team then attempted to take Sublet’s $354,000 home.

Under Oregon's civil forfeiture law, authorities can seize items from a person if they are convicted of a crime and if the property is suspected to be a proceed or instrument of the illegal conduct. The statute emphasizes that the value of the property forfeited should be “proportionate” to the conduct underlying the criminal conviction.

After a two-day trial, the jury determined Wednesday that the woman’s home helped facilitate her criminal activity and that forfeiting it to police would not be excessively punitive.

Sublet plans to appeal the decision, said her attorney, Zachary Stern.

“We don’t believe it’s appropriate for officers to police for profit,” Stern said. “Hopefully, my client is not homeless upon her release from prison.”

Alisa Ray, a deputy district attorney who handled the case for the county’s narcotics team, did not respond to a request for comment.