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Wyden presses feds to crack down harder on fentanyl flowing into Oregon on I-85, I-84


WASHINGTON (KTVZ) -- Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Friday urged top federal officials to crack down harder on the flow of fentanyl and other drugs pouring into Oregon communities on the Interstate-5 and I-84 corridors.

In a letter to Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Troy A. Miller that followed the senator’s recent meeting with agency officials, Wyden noted that traffic stops on northbound I-5 and west along I-84 in just one month this year revealed “deeply disturbing” volumes of deadly fentanyl.

Among the recent seizures cited in his letter were 100,000 fentanyl laced pills and two pounds of powdered fentanyl outside La Grande, 11 pounds of powdered fentanyl and 1,000 fentanyl laced pills in Marion County, and 86 pounds of powdered fentanyl, along with methamphetamines, heroin, and cocaine outside of Salem. 

“Despite this diligent law enforcement work, overdoses and deaths from fentanyl and fentanyl-laced drugs in Oregon have continued unabated,” Wyden wrote. “The volume of fentanyl caught on Oregon highways illustrates the urgent need for continuing and intensive efforts to stop fentanyl and its precursors at the U.S. border.” 

Wyden praised federal agencies for the crackdowns they have initiated – including that Customs and Border Protection, along with Homeland Security Investigation units reported a near-tripling from 5,000 pounds in seized fentanyl at the border in fiscal year 2019 to 14,700 pounds in fiscal year 2022. But the senator stressed more can – and must – be done.

“While I appreciate these efforts on the national level, much more needs to be done to stop drugs flooding the I-5 and I-84 corridors,” Wyden wrote. “Action must be taken directly in the communities ravaged by fentanyl. While local, state and federal law enforcement are hard at work separately, perhaps more can be done through cooperation.”

“Following my meeting with CBP officials, I am writing to ask that you strengthen and direct coordination and information-sharing between the CBP and Oregon state and local law enforcement agencies to better identify drug traffickers and dismantle their networks,” the senator wrote.  “Given that fentanyl or its precursors are being trafficked into the United States through known networks, I am seeking additional federal collaboration among drug enforcement efforts that will result in prosecution of illicit drug traffickers.”

The entire letter is here.

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