GRANTS PASS, OR -- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and eight Oregon law enforcement agencies conducted a large bust this week. David Reames, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Seattle Field Division, said Wednesday 24 people were arrested in the operation. "For 18 months, DEA and our partners have been investigating an armed group of fentanyl, methamphetamine and weapons traffickers centered in Grants Pass and operating throughout southern and central Oregon."
Nine search warrants were executed Tuesday, leading to the seizure of 37 firearms, a grenade, $33,000 in cash and a large amount of fentanyl and meth, as well as cocaine, marijuana and illegal mushrooms. Reames noted, "We assessed the quantity of fentanyl we seized; [it] had the potential to yield 144,575 lethal doses. These numbers will increase when we sort through the evidence we collected in the search warrants."
The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team (CODE) confirms it assisted with a search in Jefferson County. Oregon State Police Captain Kyle Kennedy said the operation was, "An inter-agency investigation into a local drug trafficking organization. Today that organization has been dismantled and is no longer in operation."
Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman says the large bust is one way to reduce crime and improve overall community safety, "We need to recognize as a team that overdoses in southern Oregon are at an all-time high. It’s absolutely disgusting when you think about the amount of life that is lost to overdose related death."
SAC Reames says the drugs likely came from outside the U.S., "Fentanyl and methamphetamine both come from pretty much the same sources. They come from chemicals, largely produced in China, shipped to Mexico, where both methamphetamine and fentanyl are made in large labs in mostly central Mexico. It’s pressed into methamphetamine or fentanyl, depending on the case, and then shipped north."