Central Oregon drug agents stop and arrest a Prineville man for fentanyl trafficking

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Portland is a “major hub” for counterfeit pills made in Mexican labs, Sergeant says

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) — A 33-year-old Prineville man allegedly trafficking fentanyl tablets from the Portland area to central Oregon was stopped and arrested late Friday night on Highway 126 near Prineville’s airport, narcotics officers said .

The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team concluded a short-term investigation with the traffic stop of a Toyota Tacoma pickup at 11:15 p.m., Sergeant Kent Vander Kamp said.

During a multi-county surveillance operation, detectives from the CODE team searched and executed a search warrant, he said.

Detectives from the CODE team and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputy collected and seized a commercial batch of counterfeit fentanyl pharmaceutical tablets, along with other evidence of commercial drug sales, Vander Kamp said.

The suspect was charged at the Crook County Jail with drug possession and attempted distribution. The Crook County Sheriff’s Patrol Deputies also assisted in the case.

Vander Kamp said a “commercial quantity” is legally defined as five grams or more of a mixture or substance that contains a detectable amount of fentanyl or any substituted derivative of fentanyl, as defined by the Oregon Board of Pharmacy rules.

This is not a separate criminal complaint, he said, but an increase in penalties.

The Portland metro area is a major transit hub, with illicit drugs coming in from the southwest border being stored in local warehouses, storage units and apartment buildings, the sergeant said.

The bulk shipments of drugs are usually broken up into smaller quantities and shipped to other states or distributed to local dealers. The Portland area has an international airport, freeways, and bus and train lines that make it easy to smuggle shipments to other Pacific Northwest destinations, Vander Kamp said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 107,000 people have died in the United States as a result of drug overdoses or poisoning

“Criminal drug networks in Mexico are mass producing illegal fentanyl and fake pills compressed with fentanyl in dirty, secret, unregulated labs,” Vander Kamp explained. “These counterfeit pills are designed to look like real prescription pills, right down to the size, shape, color and embossing. These counterfeit pills typically replicate real prescription opioid drugs such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®), or stimulants such as amphetamines (Adderall®).”

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