BENT Busts Major Drug Operation

June 2, 2017 3:37 pm

Photo via blue mountain enforcement narcotics team

Photo via blue mountain enforcement narcotics team

MILTON-FREEWATER, Oregon – The Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team rolled up a major narcotics operation in northern Umatilla County. Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts says the service of two search warrants Wednesday was the result of more than a year-long investigation.

Adan Nieves Torres, 43, was arrested at his home at 504 Elzora Loop. Carlos Cisneros Razo was taken into custody at his residence at 1501 N. Elizabeth Street, Space ‘F.’

It all started with a traffic stop and a consent search of a Chevrolet truck registered to Torres Family Landscaping of Lakewood, Washington.

BENT detectives chose to stop the truck even though they had search warrants in hand for two residences. Roberts says that’s because law enforcement is pulling away from dynamic entry busts, and seeking tactics to defuse what could end up being potential hostage situations.

“The sheer quantities that Mr. Torres had in his possession are huge – especially the heroin,” Roberts said.

BENT detectives uncovered substantial quantities of drugs there, including 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine, 4.3 pounds of heroin, and 5.6 pounds of cocaine. They also seized more than $26,000 in cash and two firearms. BENT found that one of those guns was stolen out of the Walla Walla area. In addition, body armor, scales and packaging materials were seized.

The search warrant for Razo’s residence turned up more than 16 grams of methamphetamine, scales, and packaging material. Also, at the time of his arrest, the suspect was allegedly carrying a loaded .32-caliber handgun concealed on his person.

Roberts says the narcotics and possible firearms charges are being referred to the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution.

Meth Lab Elimination Act of 2009

Sponsored by Senator Ron Wyden

Senator Ron Wyden continues to develop a Meth Elimination Act which is similar to the pseudoephedrine law we passed in the Oregon State legislature. During a recent National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition (NNOAC) meeting, I asked the new Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Gil Kerlikowske his opinion of Senator Wyden's effort. He was already familiar with Oregon's pseudoephedrine law and the dramatic results we've achieved in eliminating meth labs. In fact, he was excited about spreading this success throughout the nation by supporting Senator Wyden. NNOAC members from many other state drug enforcement associations are supporting this effort as well.

On another note, the legalization of drugs, which is promoted through the initiative process in many states, is not a matter that Director Kerlikowske is willing to address. Previous ONDCP Director's have aggressively fought against those promoting the legalization of marijuana and he does not believe those efforts were successful. We disagree. Drug legalizers would have been more successful if not challenged. The fact that the person in charge of drug policy for the nation won't address this issue, sends a strong message and encouragement to all who would advocate for the use of marijuana. This stance, or lack of it, gives our youth the impression that marijuana is not a serious drug. 

The consequences of a soft approach to drug policy materialized immediately after the election. Those supporting drug legalization became more aggressive because they believed the new administration would be soft on this issue. The NNOAC President, Ron Brooks was contacted by drug legalizers because they thought we may now be interested in compromising our hard line against drug legalization. You can rest assured that the NNOAC will not compromise on drug use policy. Some of our staunch supporters may compromise, in part because they are dependent on federal funds. The NNOAC is self sufficient and therefore not influenced on policy by money. 

There are a number of members in Congress who support drug legalization through various legislative efforts. As an example, Senator Webb's work on a crime commission report recommends, and if approved, would instruct certain officials to stop incarcerating people for marijuana crimes. Also, there are efforts to roll back sentences related to crack cocaine crimes. Another senator would like to significantly reduce our ability to develop and use informants. 

The NNOAC continues to work on these and other policy and funding matters that could directly impact state and local drug enforcement officers. Please make an effort to contact your members of congress regarding these issues.   

Ron Nelson
Northwest Regional Director
NNOAC