SHPD Joint Efforts With FBI and EPD Lead To Arrest of Sweet Home Man

Kristy Tallman

Law enforcement agencies in Sweet Home and Eugene along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) collaborated to apprehend a 40-year-old Sweet Home man, Ryan Randall Carbon. The investigation began following threats against the Eugene Police Department (EPD), and other individuals in Sweet Home and Lebanon after a subsequent DUI arrest. The incident unfolded on Jan. 4, prompting swift action from local authorities.

“So this was back on Jan. 4, it was actually towards the end of my shift,” recalled Detective Sean Potter of the Sweet Home Police Department, (SHPD) detailing the sequence of events leading to Carbon’s arrest.

On Jan. 4, Potter received a crucial phone call from an FBI field agent based in Eugene. The agent relayed information regarding Carbon who had been making explicit threats against law enforcement and other individuals.

Acting swiftly on the FBI’s request, Potter began surveillance at an informant’s residence where Carbon was expected to be present. Utilizing real-time updates from the FBI agent, Potter coordinated with patrol officers, assessing the situation and devising a strategy to intervene.

During the surveillance operation, suspicions arose regarding Carbon’s potential impairment due to an illicit substance ingestion at the informant’s residence, prompting Potter to plan a traffic stop. Following Carbon’s departure from the location, Potter trailed him while coordinating with other units.

Potter said, “One of the messages that I had received is that he had made the statement that he was going to Lebanon to kill some gang members, unknown who those gang members were or anything like that. We have an active threat against an individual in the Lebanon area. And when he was stopped, he was heading towards Lebanon. Part of our job is the inference and the deterrence of crime, right? So I mean, when you’re loaded for bear, weapons and ammo, and you’re making these statements and then you’re going in that exact direction?

Furthermore, Potter highlighted the cooperative efforts between local agencies and federal authorities, particularly the FBI. “The FBI request was, hey, I know there’s not a lot that we’re giving you right now… But when it gets to a certain level, where we think there’s a credible threat, I mean, as law enforcement, it’s our job to try to prevent those things from happening,” Potter emphasized.

Eventually, a traffic stop was initiated on the west side limits of Sweet Home, resulting in Carbon’s apprehension for driving under the influence (DUI). Subsequent to the arrest, a standard vehicle inventory revealed a startling cache of firearms, including a stolen shotgun and a loaded AR-15, accessible to Carbon within the vehicle.

“I mean, I’ve been in this job for almost nine years, and I’ve done a lot of traffic stops and investigations. It was the most firearms and ammo that I’ve seized in one car. I mean, I’ve seen it a lot, but not altogether.” remarked Potter.

“So after that, he was arrested and lodged at the Linn County Jail. We submitted for an extreme risk protection order, called an ERPO, and that was subsequently granted by the circuit court” said Potter.

Potter explained, “What an ERPO does, it orders a person to surrender any and all firearms to law enforcement and is based on them being a danger to themselves or to the public. So that was filled out that night.”

The paperwork was filed with the judge by one of Potter’s coworkers the next day.

“The following morning, I came in and submitted a search warrant for his residence, which is here in town. Search warrant was executed, no other firearms were located but we did locate more, quite a bit more, ammunition at the residence,” detailed Potter.

The coordinated efforts of all law enforcement groups began by the collaborative exchange of information between FBI and local authorities, eventuated in Carbon’s arrest and the seizure of a significant arsenal of weapons.

In total, Carbon possessed five Rifles, one Shotgun, two Handguns and over 2000 rounds of ammo.

Potter emphasized that Carbon’s arrest was not only based on the possession of firearms but also on the credible threat he posed to law enforcement and other individuals.

“So after the stop was made, we took an inventory, found the firearms. I mean, there was at least just off of a rough count over 2000 rounds of ammo in that car, matching ammunition for those firearms, loaded magazines, the whole nine yards,” said Potter.

He continued, “And once those were seized, given the information that we had from the informant and from the FBI field agent, with the threats that were made, weapons that were located, Carbon was charged with unlawful use of a weapon.”

Potter stated further, “And the reason he was charged with unlawful use of a weapon is that in that statute, it actually reads, ‘Uses or carries with intent to use against another, a dangerous and deadly weapon.’ So, no, he did not necessarily use those firearms, but it was interpretable, it was his intent to use those firearms in some sort of an act against the police.”

The original incident which began the investigation stemmed from an arrest Carbon had in Eugene. Potter said, “The agency that he had beef with was the Eugene Police Department. He was arrested on Christmas Eve for a DUI by the Eugene police. And that was a big issue down there. I don’t know a lot of the details about it. But I know he was charged with resisting arrest down there, along with the DUI. And so there, that was the link between him and Eugene police. And that’s why his threats were against Eugene police as he felt wronged by them based on the investigation.”

In a separate incident on December 24, Eugene Police arrested Carbon for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) after he crashed into a pedestrian island. During the incident, Carbon threatened the officers during the contact and tried to slip his handcuffs during that arrest.

Carbon’s behavior had raised concerns not only in Eugene but also for Potter, “Our agency had not arrested him prior to that point that I’m aware of,” Potter stated, but said they had done several mental health checks on Carbon in the past.

Of his collaborative effort with the FBI and EPD, Potter reflected, “I mean, that was the gist of what happened. The FBI, they were very clear that they were very thankful for our efforts, we actually received some kudos from them from their field office, and then also from the Eugene chief, he reached out to us to thank us for our efforts.”

He was pleased they had gotten such actionable intel, he said, “And because it’s not often that you get actionable intel like that as law enforcement. That’s kind of how I’ve always looked at it in my career. It’s like, if you give me good info, you know, and I think any officer here at this agency would do the same, if you’re given good information, you should act on it. Right?”

Potter said, “The field office down in Eugene, they told us that, traditionally, they don’t get a lot of assistance from local agencies, when it comes to this type of intelligence. They kind of get brushed off, or they get ‘oh, yeah, we’ll get to it when we can.’ This was 30 minutes before the end of my shift. And I was here until about one o’clock in the morning, you know, just in case.”

“It could have been pretty bad if he wasn’t cooperative. I will give him credit, he was cooperative on the stop. But that’s kind of just part of law enforcement. It can always go bad. I’ve never been one for the mindset of don’t take action because of the risks involved with the action. Risk is inherent in being a police officer.”

Melinda McLaughlin, Public Information Director for EPD, said of the eventual outcome, “We were made aware of the threat and appreciate SHPD’s work in keeping our employees safe.”