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Press Release

Central Oregon Drug Trafficker Sentenced to Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Oregon

EUGENE, Ore.—On August 16, 2023, a Deschutes County, Oregon woman was sentenced to federal prison for trafficking large quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl to Oregon for distribution.

Krista Vela, 39, was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

“Today marks a significant victory in our ongoing fight against the scourge of methamphetamine and fentanyl trafficking. With the successful arrest and conviction of Krista Vela, we have dealt a decisive blow to the criminal networks that seek to spread destruction in the central Oregon community,” said Sergeant Kent van der Kamp of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. “This outcome is a testament to the tireless efforts of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team (CODE), and our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We remain resolute in our commitment to ensure the safety of central Oregon, and this case serves as a powerful reminder that those who peddle in illegal drugs will face the full force of justice.”

According to court documents, in November 2020, as part of a broader drug trafficking investigation, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and CODE identified Vela as a key source of supply for a prominent area drug dealer. In early December, investigators seized several pieces of luggage being removed from a hotel room rented by Vela in Sunriver, Oregon. The bags contained drug packaging materials, a digital scale, a GPS tracking device, 15 kilograms of methamphetamine, and 2 kilograms of fentanyl. One of the bags also contained several pieces of paperwork with Vela’s name on them.

On December 6, 2021, Vela was charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl. Later, on April 21, 2022, a federal grand jury in Eugene returned a two-count indictment charging Vela and an accomplice with conspiring with one another to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl. On July 5, 2023, Vela pleaded guilty to both charges.

Vela’s sentence will run concurrent to an 84-month federal prison sentence imposed on March 16, 2023, in the District of Montana for a separate drug trafficking conviction.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, and CODE. It was prosecuted by Adam E. Delph, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The CODE team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. CODE includes members of the Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Madras, Sunriver, and Black Butte Police Departments; the Warm Springs Tribal Police Department; the Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson County Sheriff and District Attorney’s Offices; the Oregon State Police; the Oregon National Guard; DEA; and the FBI.

Updated August 22, 2023

Drug Trafficking