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Jun-05-2009 12:52printcomments

Drug Trafficking Organization Dismantled: 33 in Custody

Police say that because of the magnitude of these investigations, they could not have been accomplished without the interagency cooperation at all levels.


(PORTLAND, Ore.) - A lengthy investigation into Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations in Washington County culminated in arrests last week. This group was suspected of importing Methamphetamine, Cocaine and Heroin into the Portland-Metro area.

This was a joint investigation with the Westside Interagency Narcotics Team (WIN-), Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Due to interagency cooperation throughout the area, investigators were able to bring together all of the groups to take down one of largest state Racketeering cases in recent history. WIN has been working with many partners, including the FBI and ICE, during this investigation. During the investigation the WIN team, with the help of other state, local and federal agencies served warrants at 19 locations, 18 of which were in Washington County. They arrested 33 people connected with this organization.

In addition to the Washington County cases, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and the Portland Police Bureau wrapped up their portion of this investigation with another 11 arrests.

This operation was unique in the Washington County area in that the Oregon DOJ supplied attorneys and funding that allowed this crime organization to be dismantled and charged under the Oregon RICO statutes. For those who have been charged under RICO, if convicted, these statutes carry heavy penalties.

Critical sources of funding came through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), via the DEA, which supplies federal funding to drug task forces working on arresting members of drug trafficking organizations and funding through a federal program titled the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

The current drug trends throughout the United States are clear - Mexican cartels are controlling the majority of drugs coming into the US.

This importation is usually controlled by smaller local cells (Drug Trafficking Organizations) that are directly responsible for bringing illegal narcotics into the US and then distributing them throughout our communities.

Because of the magnitude of these investigations, they could not have been accomplished without the interagency cooperation at all levels. Below is a list of agencies that contributed at different levels during the course of the investigation or with resources during the service of warrants:

• Washington County Sheriff's Office
• Beaverton Police Department
• Hillsboro Police Department
• Sherwood Police Department
• Tigard Police Department
• Tualatin Police Department
• Forest Grove Police Department
• Oregon National Guard
• Oregon Department of Justice
• Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
• Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
• Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)
• Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
• Portland Police Bureau
• Regional Organized Crime Narcotics Task Force (ROCN)
• Oregon State Police
• United States Marshals Service
• Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

In addition to the arrests, seized throughout the course of the investigation were…. Officials located
• Over 22 Kilograms of Cocaine.
• Five Ounces of Methamphetamine
• Over $16,000 in Cash
• 10 Guns
• Five Vehicles

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Bert June 7, 2009 5:31 pm (Pacific time)

Another drug-related story shows the magnitude of the problem, and the professional level of organization behind the illegal importation of drugs into the United States from points south, even beyond Mexico. Now, they've got SUBMARINES: "Now U.S. law enforcement officials say that more than a third of the cocaine smuggled into the United States from Colombia travels in submersibles. An experimental oddity just two years ago, these strange semi-submarines are the cutting edge of drug trafficking today............. The subs are powered by ordinary diesel engines and built of simple fibreglass in clandestine shipyards in the Colombian jungle. U.S. officials expect 70 or more to be launched this year with a potential cargo capacity of 380 tonnes of cocaine, worth billions of dollars in the United States. " This translates as: Big Problem, call out the sub-chasers...

Anonymous June 7, 2009 10:04 am (Pacific time)

Editor My comments weren't directed at you. They were directed at the press release which is the 3rd stage of exaggeration with drug task forces. The first is the OCDETF proposal. It triggers funding and it's prepared by the lead agency. Get your hands on that and you'll see that it's a dream, deceitful, and downright untrue. The second stage is the operation and often times, the costs of the investigation exceeds the amount of drugs and money seized. The last stage is the press release and that's where the Agencies exaggerate what happened in the event the proposal was ever leaked. If you do get your hands on the proposal; or find out how much the investigation costs; and start asking tough questions to justify the funding; fingerpointing starts with 18 different fingers and it will outlive any interest you have in getting to the bottom of the "bull...."

Anonymous June 5, 2009 1:47 pm (Pacific time)

There is absolutely no way the details of this story will line up with the facts of the investigation.  Exaggerated press releases are a hallmark for task forces and you can tell very easily. Whose reporting system did you use? Give us the total overtime amount that was paid to the local police officers. Tell us how many of the MUTTS were charged under Oregon's RICO and what were the acts charged in connection with the RICO. 16K cash and five cars is hardly a cash cow.  Finally, tell us where exactly those 22 kilos of cocaine were seized and connect it specifically to the group.  Drug investigations nowadays are creative writing assignments not investigations and if you sift through the shit this is one too.

Editor: You are right, this is an unedited press release but that is how it goes sometimes.  If you know our work then you know that we endlessly bring forward stories about medical marijuana and PTSD and we really have an overview of  these subjects that others miss.  There is a point where we just have to take the word of the people sending out the news and sometimes we have the time and ability to look at things more closely and sometimes we don't.  Our goal is to be accurate always and to also deliver the news that people expect.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.