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Medford felon gets 13 years for selling meth in Bend


A 35-year-old Medford man was sentenced Wednesday to more than 13 years in federal prison for possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it in Bend at the time of his arrest in a traffic stop nearly three years ago.

Christopher Michael Soares received the 160-month sentence in Eugene federal court, followed by five years of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

On June 28, 2016, Bend police pulled over a silver 2008 Lexus driven by Soares near the intersection of Southeast Parrell Road and Knightsbridge Place for running a stop sign, police Lt. Ken Mannix of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team said shortly after the arrest.

CODE Team detectives and a narcotics K-9 responded to assist and the drug-sniffing dog alerted to the presence of drugs in the car, Mannix said.

A search led to about 3 1/2 ounces of methamphetamine, 2 ounces of heroin, “user amounts” of cocaine, more than 17 pounds of processed marijuana, methadone, morphine pills and a loaded handgun that “was concealed and readily accessible to the driver,” Mannix said.

According to court documents, when officers searched Soares’ person, they found 99 grams of meth, 56 grams of heroin and a 9 mm firearm. Other evidence of drug sales and distribution also were found.

Along with drug charges, Soares was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The two other people in the car also were arrested on drug charges.

Mannix said an investigation found Soares and Eric Conlogue, 27, had traveled from their hometown of Medford to the Bend area to sell “commercial quantities of methamphetamine and heroin,” Mannix said at the time.

Soares was later arrested on three separate occasions in Jackson County for additional drug and firearms offenses, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

In September 2016, Soares was charged by federal criminal complaint for the June 2016 incident in Bend. He later pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

“Facing state and federal charges, the parties, including state prosecutors in Jackson County, agreed to a global resolution to resolve all of Soares’ pending criminal cases,” U.S. Department of Justice Public Affairs Officer Kevin Sonoff said.

This case was jointly investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bend Police Department, Medford Police Department and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Nathan J. Lichvarcik, assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.

PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.

As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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