(Update: Sheriff Heckathorn releases more info)
Public asked to avoid locations while operations underway
MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) – A long-term investigation of a drug-trafficking organization culminated Tuesday with Central Oregon drug agents, several law enforcement agencies and SWAT teams conducting six simultaneous raids across northern Jefferson County, making several arrests in the largest drug bust in county history, Sheriff Marc Heckathorn said.
The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team said drug agents, assisted by Central Oregon Emergency Response (CERT) and Deschutes County SWAT teams, support aircraft and several law enforcement agencies, conducted the raids Tuesday morning in the Culver and Madras areas, and asked people to avoid those locations while the search warrants were being executed.
The CODE Team said it was being assisted in the raids by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Jefferson, Deschutes and Crook County sheriff’s offices and Oregon State Police, Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp said.
Heckathorn said in a news release at midday that detectives were still processing and collecting evidence, after the properties were cleared, and that “by all accounts, this will be the largest drug bust in Jefferson County history.”
Heckathorn, who has resigned his position effective next Monday, said he “wants to thank not only all the agencies who sent us personnel and resources from across the state to assist us, but to the community as a whole for their patience in waiting for us to properly develop the case.”
“Organized drug trafficking cases are extremely complex and dangerous investigations,” he wrote. “Additional investigation will be occurring and multiple arrests were made today.”
More details will be provided in a later release, likely Wednesday, he said.
The CODE Team detailed four of the search warrants in two Culver locations – Southwest Ford Lane near South Adams Drive, and Southwest Feather Drive near Jericho Lane – and two in Madras, Southwest Dover Lane near Highway 26 and Southwest Bear Drive near the Culver Highway.
“There are no outstanding suspects or dangers to the community at large,” Vander Kamp said in an initial news release Tuesday morning.
However, he asked that people avoid the areas while the search warrants are executed and noted there could be "some minor traffic delays.”