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News Release
March 13, 2005

I-5 Corridor Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization Dismantled

Portland, Oregon – Today, Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge, Seattle Field Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, announced the culmination of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, termed Operation Global Warming, which resulted in the arrest of six (6) individuals and the seizure of 42 pounds of methamphetamine, six (6) pound of heroin, one (1) pound of marijuana, seven (7) firearms, and approximately $100,000 in United States currency.

This case began 19 months ago after California law enforcement officials obtained information indicating that a West Coast based drug trafficking organization was involved in transporting large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, from Mexico, through California, and then into Oregon and Washington for distribution. Based on this initial information, agents and officers were able to initiate six (6) separate criminal investigations into groups associated with this organization, which were involved in orchestrating narcotics smuggling in the three-state region along the Interstate 5 corridor.

One of several concealed compartments used to transport narcotics along the Interstate 5 corridor.

These related investigations, which took place in Oregon and California, resulted in the arrest of 10 individuals, as well as the seizure of 44 pounds of methamphetamine, $109,900 in United States Currency, four (4) vehicles, and 12 firearms. Agents and officers learned the entire organization was using elaborately constructed hidden compartments in vehicles to transport methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine to Oregon and Washington and then using the same vehicles to transport their illegal profits back to California and, ultimately, Mexico.

During the investigation, this narcotics trafficking organization operated in business like fashion by attempting to adapt to law enforcements interdiction efforts. Operation Global Warming attacked this organization by going after their network of vehicles used for the transportation of drugs. Earlier this week, agents and officers made a significant seizure of methamphetamine and heroin, which put into motion law enforcement’s plans to shut down the Portland cell of this organization. During the early morning hours of March 12, 2005, in the greater Portland area, agents and officers executed 35 Federal search warrants - 10 residences and 25 vehicles. During these most recent enforcement operations, six (6) individuals were arrested, and an additional 42 pounds of methamphetamine, six (6) pounds of heroin, one (1) pound of marijuana, seven (7) firearms, 11 vehicles, and $100,000 in United States currency was seized. Of the 11 cars seized, four (4) had hidden compartments capable of hiding 30 or more pounds of narcotics.

Special Agent in Charge Rodney G. Benson of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said that “Operation Global Warming dismantled a significant drug smuggling organization which was determined to make huge profits at the expense of the people of Oregon and Washington. DEA, along with the United States Attorney’s Office and state, county, and local law enforcement, will continue to pool our resources to counter this threat to our communities and children.”

This joint investigation was spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration Portland District Office Task Force and the Westside Interagency Narcotics (WIN) Team, who worked in concert with Agents, Sheriff Deputies, and Police Officers, from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Portland Police Bureau, Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, Regional Organized Crime Narcotics Task Force (ROCN) , Tigard Police Department, Sherwood Police Department, Beaverton Police Department, Hillsboro Police Department, Salem Police Department, Marion Country Sheriff’s Office, Cornelius Police Department, Forest Grove Police Department, Tualatin Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Oregon National Guard, United States Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the United States Attorney’s Office in Oregon.

The six (6) defendants are charged with violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 & 841 – Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of a Mixture or Substance Containing a Detectable Amount of Methamphetamine, which carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. Arraignment for the six (6) defendants in this case is scheduled to take place at 1:30 p.m. on March 14, 2005, in the Federal Courthouse, Portland, Oregon.

Every Defendant Is Presumed Innocent Until and Unless Proven Guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

Rodney G. Benson, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in-Charge, Seattle Field Division, has provided a radio clip commenting on Operation Global Warming. The radio actuality can be accessed by doing the following:

Dial 1-888-557-6494, and then dial mailbox number 701.
Listen and record.
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