Drugs, guns seized; men face federal charges of importing large amounts of drugs from Mexico
MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) – Central Oregon and federal drug agents arrested two Jefferson County men, accused of importing large quantities of drugs from Mexico, during simultaneous raids on their homes that turned up a variety of drugs and eight guns, officials said Saturday.
Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team detectives and special agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Israel Sarabia, 29, and Sebastian Norato, 22, after investigating a report regarding large amounts of drugs brought to Central Oregon from Mexico, CODE Team Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp said.
Around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 15, CODE and DEA agents, assisted by the FBI, Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies and Oregon State Police, executed simultaneous federal search warrants at Sarabia’s home on Timothy Drive in Culver and Norato’s apartment on Jefferson Street in Madras, Vander Kamp said.
During the searches, agents found and seized commercial quantities of counterfeit oxycodone pills believed to contain fentanyl, as well as cocaine, methamphetamine, three pistols and five rifles, Vander Kamp said.
The counterfeit pills are meant to look like common pharmaceutical-grade painkiller oxycodone, Vander Kamp said in a news release. However, these fake pills contain fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but up to 100 times more potent.
The cheap, counterfeit pills containing fentanyl are fueling an increase in fatal drug overdoses across Oregon, he said. Visit www.Dea.gov/OnePill for more information.
Both men were taken to Portland and booked into the Multnomah County Jail on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl.
The men’s spouses and children also were home at the time of the raids, Vander Kamp said, and the Oregon Department of Human Services was contacted regarding the children.
Vander Kamp said the indictments and search warrants were issued at the same time, as federal court records confirmed. He said information gathered in the case was forwarded to the United States Attorney’s Office in Portland, for further charging consideration.
Limited information was being released at this time, the sergeant said, as the investigation is continuing, and more arrests are expected.