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News Release from DEA Seattle
Posted on FlashAlert: October 6th, 2017 10:25 AM
Eugene, Ore. -- Investigators with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Linn County Inter-Agency Narcotics Enforcement (LINE) Task Force have arrested and charged three Hubbard, Oregon, residents for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Rafael Ceballos-Castillo, 49 years old, was arrested on October 2, 2017, and appeared in federal court later that day. His son, Rafael Ceballos Jr., 20 years old, was charged by criminal complaint and is currently in custody on an unrelated state warrant and will appear in federal court when the matter is resolved. Ceballos-Castillo's brother, Jose Ceballos-Castillo, 28 years old, was arrested on October 5, 2017, and appeared on the criminal complaint before Magistrate Thomas M. Coffin. All three men are currently in custody, pending detention hearings.
"Working with our partners led to a significant seizure of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine being peddled by this organization within our state," said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Cam Strahm. "It is the most recent example of our collective efforts to keep Oregonians safe from the insidious nature of drug trafficking and those organizations willing to prey on those battling addiction."
According to the criminal complaints, law enforcement began investigating Rafael Ceballos-Castillo and Jose Ceballos Jr. in July 2017, after identifying Ceballos-Castillo as a methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine source of supply.
On October 2, 2017, Ceballos-Castillo was arrested in Springfield, Oregon, and was found to be in possession of over $50,000 in cash. Later that day, a search warrant was executed at his residence in Hubbard, Oregon, and law enforcement seized approximately 57 pounds of methamphetamine, one kilogram of cocaine, and .45 caliber semi-automatic hand gun. A second residence in Salem, Oregon, was also searched and law enforcement seized over 13 pounds of methamphetamine, over one pound of heroin, and a loaded Smith and Wesson .357 caliber revolver and ammunition. To date, agents and officers have seized a combined total of over 76 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.5 pounds of cocaine, one-pound of heroin, two handguns, drug paraphernalia and a money counter.
"These arrests and seizures are the result of a significant joint investigation by local and federal law enforcement to combat the destruction wrought by methamphetamine abuse in the Linn County community," said Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon. "We greatly appreciate the level of cooperation and law enforcement partnerships."
The investigation was led by DEA and the LINE Task Force, with substantial assistance from the Clackamas County Interagency Task Force (CCITF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Salem Police Department Street Crimes Unit, the Springfield Police Department, and the Hubbard Police Department. The LINE Task Force, which consists of investigators from the Albany, Lebanon, and Sweet Home police departments, the Linn County Sheriff's Office, the Oregon State Police, the Oregon National Guard Counter Drug Task Force and the DEA, was created after the county was designated a High Density Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) in January 2016.
Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Huynh is prosecuting this case. A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and all defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, a joint operation involving the FBI, DEA and Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) Team resulted in the federal arrest of nine people charged with participation in a drug distribution network operating in the Madras/Redmond area. CODE officers and deputies arrested three others on state charges. Two of those additional arrests involved outstanding warrants; the third was a probable cause arrest for drug and weapons charges. All arrests were without incident. The federal defendants will each make an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo at the U.S. District Courthouse in Eugene at 1:30 pm on Thursday, September 28th.
To view the full FBI press release and to learn more about this investigation, please click on button below:
On September 27, 2017 the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) released a comprehensive report on the opioid epidemic in the United States, The Unprecedented Opioid Epidemic: As Overdoses Become a Leading Cause of Death, Police, Sheriffs, and Health Agencies Must Step Up Their Response.
The following is a brief explanation from PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler about the report:
As the title of the report suggests, the opioids crisis is continuing to worsen, despite some amazing work over the last few years by police departments, public health agencies, drug treatment programs, hospitals, and many other organizations. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released in August, indicate that drug overdose deaths totaled 64,070 in 2016 - a 21-percent increase over 2015. Approximately three-fourths of those deaths involved opioid drugs.
Furthermore, the new CDC statistics confirm what many police chiefs have been telling us: Fentanyl and carfentanil are driving the sharp increases in opioid deaths. In 2016, CDC identified 15,466 fatalities resulting from heroin overdoses, but significantly more deaths - 20,145 - caused by fentanyl or other synthetic opioids.
To put these numbers in context, consider the following:
Drug overdose deaths last year were more than double the number of homicides in the peak year for murders, back in 1991.
Drug overdose deaths were more numerous than automobile fatalities in the worst year ever, back in 1972, when the only safety devices in cars were seat belts.
Drug overdose deaths are also more numerous that HIV deaths in 1995, which was the worst year of the AIDS epidemic.
Drug overdose deaths last year also outnumber American fatalities during the entire course of the Vietnam War.
PERF has been focusing attention on this ongoing tragedy for three years. Since 2014, we have convened three national conferences on the opioids crisis, and the report I am sending you today is our third major report on it.
We keep coming back to opioids because the crisis has not yet peaked. It shows no signs of abating - even though many police and sheriffs' departments are breaking new ground on a daily basis, coming up with new initiatives that would have been off their radar screen a few years ago.
For example, many police agencies today are actively working to get addicted persons into treatment - in some cases, inviting addicts to come to a police station in order to get enrolled in a treatment program. And when a heroin addict has a nonfatal overdose, some departments send police officers and health clinicians to knock on the addict's front door the next morning, to offer help and make sure they know about treatment options and other services that are available.
We are told that addicted persons and their family members truly appreciate these "house calls," because for many people, there is still a stigma to drug abuse, so they can speak more freely in their own homes than they would if they went to a government office to ask for help.
Another major development is the increasing trend by police and other agencies to gather intelligence about overdoses and analyze the information quickly to prevent deaths. If a batch of fentanyl-laced heroin is causing fatal overdoses, police are scrambling to detect it quickly, connect the dots, and issue warnings to prevent further deaths.
Because four out of five heroin addicts began with prescription opioids, not heroin, police also are seeing a new role for themselves in helping to break that pattern, by warning community members about the risks associated with opioid-based pain relievers. The federal CDC agency has produced reports, fact sheets, brochures, posters, and other resources that police can use to educate the public about these risks.
One of the toughest issues about the opioid crisis is what role prosecutors can take to reduce the deaths. This is explored in detail in our new report. Unfortunately, current federal drug laws are not well-suited to support heroin or fentanyl prosecutions. However, we identified certain types of situations where state, local, and federal prosecutors can and should target opioid dealers and distributors.
PERF is grateful to Commissioner James P. O'Neill and the New York City Police Department, which generously hosted our conference in April 2017, and whose officials provided a wealth of information about New York City's sophisticated, Compstat-based opioids reduction program.
Many police chiefs have told us that the opioids crisis is the most difficult issue they are facing in 2017, and perhaps in their career. I hope you will find this report informative and useful as you take on this issue in your agency.
Executive Director, PERF
The full report is available online at http://www.policeforum.org/assets/opioids2017.pdf
Today (September 28, 2017) Richard Baum, Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced the designation of 16 new counties in 13 states as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) counties. Among the newly designated counties is Bannock County, Idaho which will become part of the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA Program. To learn more, please click on the button below to read a press release from ONDCP.
The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA Program partnered with ONEA to sponsor a statewide drug enforcement recognition and awards program. Oregon-Idaho HIDTA and ONEA created 10 award categories (5 team and 5 individual) and solicited for nominations in June. 12 nominations were received and evaluated by a committee. As a result of the nomination and evaluation process 7 award winners were chosen and honored during a luncheon at the summer ONEA conference which was held at Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond, Oregon.
The teams and individuals that received awards were:
OUTSTANDING INTERDICTION EFFORT
Oregon State Police Domestic Highway Enforcement Team
OUTSTANDING LOCAL IMPACT INVESTIGATIVE EFFORT
Clackamas County Interagency Task Force
OUTSTANDING INTERSTATE/INTERNATIONAL IMPACT INVESTIGATIVE EFFORT
Portland Police Bureau HIDTA Interdiction Team
OUTSTANDING TASK FORCE COMMANDER
Lieutenant Patrick Huskey, Oregon State Police
Bryce Ellsworth, Ada County Prosecutor’s Office and U.S Attorney’s Office, District of ID
AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE
Detective Kent Vander Kamp, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office
OUTSTANDING TASK FORCE
Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team
Congratulations to all of the nominees and the award winners! To view the winning award nominations, please click on the button below:
On Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 in the Home Depot parking lot at Mall 205, the Clackamas County Interagency Task Force (CCITF) arrested Jose Luis Poitras, 22, with almost 20 kilos of meth and almost 4 kilos of heroin. For more information about this case, please click on the link below:
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office -
The Portland Police Bureau HIDTA Interdiction Task Force conducted an investigation into the overdose death of an 18 year old SE Portland resident and traced the Dark Web source of supply to South Carolina. For the full story click on the link below:
The Clackamas County Interagency Task Force (CCITF) conducted an undercover purchase of 14 kg. of methamphetamine and arrested the trafficker. For the full story click on the link below.
Please click the button below to download and read the 2017, 1st quarter edition of the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA Times newsletter
The Oregon Coalition for Responsible Use of Meds (OrCRM)—a statewide coalition convened by Lines for Life—has won a national award for Outstanding Prevention, Treatment, or Public Health Effort from the National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. Selected from over 150 award nominees nationwide, OrCRM launched in 2013 to reduce abuse, misuse, and overdose from prescription drugs.
"Many organizations and coalitions across the country are working very hard to prevent opioid drug abuse and its tragic consequences”, says Chris Gibson, executive director of Oregon-Idaho HIDTA—a counter-drug grant program that aims to identify, disrupt, and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. "OrCRM’s unique approach is multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary and regionally based—a design that makes them stand out from other prevention efforts. It’s easy for people to get together and talk about a problem, but it’s difficult for them to come to consensus on strategies to solve problems and even more difficult to implement those strategies once consensus is reached. OrCRM has successfully worked through these difficulties and is accomplishing the goals that they have set. The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is very proud to support OrCRM’s work and of this well-deserved recognition.”
OrCRM is most well-known for convening broad arrays of stakeholders at statewide summits designed to develop regional-level action plans. The coalition has convened nearly 1,000 stakeholders in five regions across the state. The action plans developed in each region target four key objectives: (1) reduce the number of pills prescribed by improving pain management practices, (2) expand access to treatment services, (3) better disposal of unused meds, and (4) educate healthcare providers the public about the problem.
“In the Portland Metro Area, prescription drugs killed as many people as heroin in 2015 and are frequently the gateway to heroin initiation,” says Multnomah County Health Officer Paul Lewis. "OrCRM has become the statewide organizing center for coordinating the needed series of strategies required to defeat this epidemic. We're extremely proud to be part of ORCRM as it receives recognition for its tireless efforts in Oregon.”
The coalition has generated action across the state to decrease the impacts of the prescription drug abuse epidemic. Strategies range from health system improvements such as better integration of behavioral health care to deployment of naloxone (a drug that reverses the effects of opioid medications to prevent overdose injuries or death) in rural law enforcement patrol cars.
OrCRM members on hand to accept the award during a ceremony on February 9, 2017 in Washington, D.C were Lines for Life CEO Dwight Holton, Tri-County Health Officer Dr. Peter Lewis, CODA Inc. Executive Director Tim Hartnett, Lines for Life Education and Training Coordinator Donna Libemday and Lines for Life Project Manager Elizabeth White.
The High Desert Drug Task Force which is based in Malheur County collaborated with the Malheur County Sheriff's Office, the Ontario Police Department, the Nyssa Police Department and the Payette Police Department in Idaho to conduct an undercover sex trafficking operation that resulted in the arrest of 15 people. For the full story, click on the link below.
Please click the button below to download and read the 2016, 3rd quarter edition of the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA Times newsletter.