News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Bernie Hobson
Public Information Officer
Seattle Field Division
(206) 553-2295

Dozens Arrested in Oregon Pot Bust

MAR 15 -- Today, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the arrest of dozens of persons who are suspected to be involved in a sophisticated drug trafficking network. The arrests took place after an eight month investigation which culminated in the service of numerous federal search and arrest warrants in and around the Eugene, Oregon area.

During the course of the investigation, Federal and State authorities identified a sophisticated drug trafficking organization that was importing and distributing heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine in Oregon, California, and Washington. The criminal organization directed the importation of the illicit drugs from Mexico and then arranged for its transportation and eventual distribution in Oregon and elsewhere. Federal and State authorities have estimated that the organization distributed approximately 25 kilograms of heroin, and approximately 15 pounds of methamphetamine on a monthly basis in the Southern Willamette Valley.

During the course of executing almost two dozen search warrants, law enforcement authorities recovered and confiscated a variety of drugs, including quantities of heroin as well as methamphetamine and marijuana. In addition, several thousands of dollars in U.S. currency were seized, along with a number of vehicles. As of late afternoon, Wednesday, March 14, 2007, 31 persons had been taken into custody in conjunction with this investigation, with most of them facing charges in federal court. Initial appearances for these defendants were expected to take place over the next several days, beginning Wednesday afternoon.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Rodney G. Benson stated, “It is my hope that the results of this investigation, large in scope and reach, will make clear to those persons and organizations, that Oregon and the South Willamette Valley is no safe haven for drug dealers. Our outstanding law enforcement officers in Oregon have drawn a line in the sand, refusing to let dangerous drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine permanently damage the landscape and quality of life that has long been enjoyed by citizens in the great State of Oregon.”

Other participating agencies include the Oregon State Police; Springfield Police Department; Eugene Police Department; Lane County Sheriff’s Office; Linn County Sheriff’s Office; Immigration & Customs Enforcement; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms; United States Marshal’s Service; Junction City Police Department; Corvallis Police Department; Benton County Sheriff’s Office; and the Cottage Grove Police Department.

The charges brought forth are allegations. All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.