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Prineville man receives 4-plus year prison term for fentanyl trafficking

Central Oregon drug agents displayed drugs, loaded revolver seized in Hwy. 26 traffic stop in August 2022
Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team
Central Oregon drug agents displayed drugs, loaded revolver seized in Hwy. 26 traffic stop in August 2022

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A 27-year-old Prineville man arrested last August for trafficking fentanyl between Portland and Central Oregon has been sentenced to more than four years in prison, Crook County District Attorney Kari Hathorn said Monday

Israel Sanchez Villagomez was sentenced to serve 50 months by Judge Wade Whiting during hearing at the Crook County Courthouse on April 27. Here's the rest of a news release from Hathorn's office:

Villagomez pleaded guilty and was convicted of commercial drug offenses: Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine, Unlawful Possession of Fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled Substance, Unlawful Possession of Heroin, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

Villagomez was also sentenced to serve an additional 30 days in the Crook County Jail for an assault that occurred in the jail while his drug charges were pending. He was also ordered to pay $1,608 in restitution for medical bills resulting from the assault.           

During the investigation, Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team (CODE) agents identified Israel Sanchez Villagomez as a fentanyl trafficker in the Crook County area.

The initial investigation alleged Villagomez imported fentanyl pills from the SE Portland / Gresham area into Central Oregon, where he distributed them throughout the community. Additionally, detectives had received information that Villagomez may be armed with a firearm. 

Following an overnight multi-county surveillance operation, CODE Detectives applied for obtained, and executed a search warrant. As a result, on August 10 of last year, Villagomez was contacted and arrested during a traffic stop on Highway 26 near NW Ryegrass Road in an Audi A4.

CODE Detectives and Crook County Sheriff’s Office Deputies gathered and seized a commercial quantity of counterfeit pharmaceutical tablets made of fentanyl along with powder fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and other evidence of commercial drug sales from within the Audi.

CODE Detectives located the following commercial quantities of controlled substances:

  • 121.21 grams of methamphetamine
  • 427.65 grams (approximately 4276 pills) of fentanyl (counterfeit blue M30 pills)
  • 5.17 grams of fentanyl powder
  • 56.7 grams of heroin
  • 20.67 grams of cocaine

In addition to the drugs, Villagomez, a previously convicted felon, also possessed a loaded Smith & Wesson revolver. 

A “commercial quantity” is defined by statute as possessing a substance, or a mixture of a substance, containing a detectable amount of more than five grams of fentanyl, more than eight grams of methamphetamine, or more than three grams of heroin. This is not a separate criminal charge, but rather an increase in the sentencing guidelines. 

The greater Portland area is a major transshipment hub where illegal drugs coming from the southwest border are stored in local warehouses, storage units, and residential properties. The bulk shipments of drugs are usually broken down into smaller quantities and transported to other states or distributed to local dealers. In addition, the Portland area has an international airport, interstate highways, and bus and train lines, making it easy for shipments to be smuggled to other destinations around the Pacific Northwest.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 107,000 people have died as a result of a drug overdose or poisoning in the U.S. Criminal drug networks in Mexico are mass-producing illicit fentanyl and fake pills pressed with fentanyl in filthy, clandestine, unregulated labs.

These counterfeit pills are designed to look like real prescription pills right down to the size, shape, color, and stamping. These fake pills typically replicate authentic prescription opioid medications such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®).

This case was investigated by the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team. CODE Detectives were assisted by the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, Prineville Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Bend Police Department, Redmond Police Street Crimes Unit, Oregon State Police, Crook County Parole and Probation, Warm Springs Tribal Police and Crook County 9-1-1. 

Kari Hathorn, the Crook County District Attorney, prosecuted the case.

Court records show Villagomez's girlfriend, also arrested at the time, entered into a plea agreement to testify against him in which it's proposed she receive three years' probation. Her sentencing is set for mid-June.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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