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Madras couple stopped on Hwy. 97, charged with guns-for-drugs scheme

Central Oregon drug agents seized pills, handgun in arrest of Madras couple accused of guns-for-drugs scheme
Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team
Central Oregon drug agents seized pills, handgun in arrest of Madras couple accused of guns-for-drugs scheme

La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) – Central Oregon drug agents pulled over an SUV on Highway 97 in La Pine this week and arrested a Madras couple on several charges, accused of running a guns-for drugs scheme between Northern California and Central Oregon. Their baby, in the back seat and surrounded by drug packages, was taken into protective state custody.

The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team wrapped up a long-term investigation with the arrest of the 31-year-old man and his 38-year-old wife, Sergeant Kent Vander Kamp said.

Detectives identified the pair as traffickers of fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine in Central Oregon, Vander Kamp said. An Investigation found that the woman was buying guns legally in Central Oregon and providing them to her husband, a convicted felon. They then exchanged the guns for drugs in Northern California, Vander Kamp said.

After an extensive surveillance operation in both states, the couple was pulled over on a search warrant around 12:30 a.m. Monday on Highway 97 in La Pine. The woman was at the wheel, with their 5-week-old infant also in the SUV, the sergeant said.

A Warm Springs Tribal Police narcotics K-9 alerted to drugs in the vehicle, and a search turned up “a sizable amount” of meth, heroin and fentanyl disguised as oxycodone (M30) pills, Vander Kamp said.

The couple’s baby was in the back seat, surrounded by packages of illegal drugs, the sergeant said. The Oregon Department of Human Services – Child Welfare responded to assume care of the infant.

Another gun and more drugs were found in the couple’s Madras home during a search late Monday morning, Vander Kamp said.

The man was lodged in the Deschutes County Jail on numerous drug charges and felon in possession of a dangerous weapon. The woman was cited in lieu of custody on charges of providing firearms used in a felony and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Vander Kamp said the investigation is ongoing, and that the case also was forwarded to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for consideration of additional federal charges.

The CODE Team was assisted by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Warm Springs Police Department, Crook County Sheriff’s Office and the Redmond Police Department during the investigation. 

The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program and the following Central Oregon law enforcement agencies: the Bend Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Redmond Police Department,  Prineville Police Department, Crook County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Madras Police Department, Oregon State Police, Sunriver Police Department, Black Butte Police Department, United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Warm Springs Tribal Police Department, Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson County District Attorney’s, and the Oregon National Guard.

The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement task forces to disrupt or dismantle local, multi-state and international drug trafficking organizations.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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