1986 US Attorney General report on Rajneesh movement crimes
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General
Annual Report of The Attorney General of The United States
A grand jury in the District of Oregon returned a five count conspiracy indictment charging 21 defendants with illegal interception of communications. The indictment named followers and former followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a religious leader of a commune named Rajneeshpuram. In 1981, the Rajneesh purchased a 65,000-acre ranch in Oregon and built a headquarters for supporters and disciples from around the world. Defendant Ma Anand Sheela was Rajneesh's personal secretary and a leader and director of most governmental and business operations at Rajneeshpuram. Ten of the 21 defendants have been convicted. The remaining 11 defendants have fled the country and are fugitives. Additionally, on March 20, 1986, the grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging Ma Anand Sheela and a licensed nurse practitioner, Dianne Onang, with conspiracy to tamper with consumer products. Investigators developed evidence that followers of the Rajneesh had secretly purchased and cultured salmonella bacteria through the commune medical clinic. The salmonella cultures were then placed in salad bars and food at restaurants in the Dalles, Oregon area. Over 750 people became ill and 45 were hospitalized. Following complex extradition proceedings with the Federal Republic of Germany, both defendants entered pleas of guilty and were sentenced to 4 1/2 year terms of imprisonment.