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SE Bend couple arrested in drug raid; fentanyl hidden in peanut butter; fake check scam busted

Drug agents say they found fentanyl hidden in peanut butter during SE Bend raid on Friday
Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team
Drug agents say they found fentanyl hidden in peanut butter during SE Bend raid on Friday

'Less-lethal explosive devices' (flash-bangs) were used to disorient pair

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Drug agents and a SWAT team used two “flash-bang” devices to disorient and arrest an alleged drug-trafficking couple as they arrived at their southeast Bend home Friday morning – one carrying a grocery bag of drugs wrapped in peanut butter, likely to avoid detection by drug-sniffing dogs, officials said.

The raid also turned up a fake check scam, using info from mail stolen around the Bend area, they said.

The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team, working with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit, wrapped up a lengthy investigation with the arrest of a 38-year-old man and his 27-year-old wife as they arrived home in the 61000 block of Ferguson Court, Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp said.

Drug agents’ investigation found that the couple had been importing large quantities of fentanyl pills and powder from the Portland area. CODE detectives applied for and obtained a search warrant for the couple’s home and car.

Concluding a multi-day, multi-county ground and aerial surveillance operation, the search warrant was executed and the couple was contacted as they returned home around 10:30 a.m. Friday, Vander Kamp said.

Due to the man’s violent criminal history, and his history of carrying weapons, CODE detectives and the DCSO SWAT Team members used two “less-lethal explosive devices to temporarily disorient” the pair during their arrest, the sergeant said.

No one was injured, but the couple were taken to St. Charles Bend “to evaluate untreated medical conditions,” Vander Kamp said in a news release. They were later discharged from the hospital and taken to the county jail, where both were lodged on various drug charges involving fentanyl and methamphetamine, as well as first-degree forgery and aggravated identity theft.

When arrested, the man was carrying “a bag of groceries containing an unusual amount of commercial-sized peanut butter,” the sergeant said. Detectives found a “significant commercial quantity of fentanyl powder and fraudulent Oxycodone tablets (made of fentanyl) wrapped in plastic and concealed within the peanut butter.”

“This was likely done to mask odors and prevent drug detection dogs or detectives from finding the fentanyl,” Vander Kamp said.

A search of the home also turned up stolen mail from around the Bend area, he said. The couple also allegedly were operating a fake check scam from their home, printing fake checks using real, stolen bank account information, often written in their own or conspirators’ names, then cashed at the account-holder’s bank. As a result, the victims often don’t find the loss for many days – and it’s often not recoverable

The couple’s bail was “enhanced,” Vander Kamp said, due to the commercial quantities of drugs found in their possession. “This investigation is ongoing, and additional arrests are forthcoming.”

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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Barney Lerten

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