OSP drug seizures up in 2011

OSP drug seizures up in 2011
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A review of statistics and cases developed by Oregon State Police Patrol (OSP) Services Division troopers and Drug Enforcement Section detectives during 2011, reflected the highest seizure levels ever tracked by OSP.

The OSP Drug Enforcement Section recorded 300 drug-related seizures that met HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas) reporting thresholds; nearly 30 percent higher than in 2010 and more than a 150 percent increase reported in 2008.

Captain Calvin Curths, director of the OSP Criminal Investigation Division, was encouraged by the unprecedented statistics but recognized the real fact that significant supplies are still getting to our local communities.

"Although these seizures have kept traffickers from delivering substantial quantities of dangerous illegal drugs to their destination, significant supplies remain available and have a real affect on our communities and individual users. Unfortunately, these illicit drugs are of unknown origin and their purity is often unpredictable and extremely dangerous to those who use them," said Curths.

Dr. Karen Gunson, State Medical Examiner, recently released 2011 drug-related death statistics that reflected an alarming increase from the previous year and the highest number of total deaths since the beginning of 2000. Heroin was the leading cause with 143 drug-related deaths in Oregon, followed by methamphetamine (107 deaths) and cocaine (33 deaths). Information for all counties with at least one drug-related death and a comparison of drug-related categories during the last 11 years is available on our website at http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SME/index.shtml.

The following is an overview of the OSP Drug Enforcement Section 2011 statistics in comparison to 2010 statistics:

* 24 lbs of heroin seized (increase over 240%)
* 242 lbs of methamphetamine seized (increase of 265%)
* 164 lbs of cocaine seized (increase more than 500%)

OSP troopers and Drug Enforcement Section detectives reported 382 arrests to HIDTA for drug-related crimes in 2011, a 15 percent increase over 2010 reported numbers. Marijuana-related seizures and investigations comprised a large number of OSP cases. The follow increases were reported by OSP Drug Enforcement Section for 2011:

* 222 Marijuana cases (increase of nearly 39% compared to 2010 statistics)
* Over 2,600 lbs of marijuana seized (a 95% increase with an estimated value of $6.5 million)
* Over 24,000 marijuana plants seized (increase of over 1,200%)

Eight OSP drug detection canines are playing a crucial role helping OSP troopers, drug detectives and law enforcement partners find illegal drugs during traffic stops and other drug-related investigations. During 2011, OSP drug detection canines were involved in the seizure of:

* Over 8 lbs of heroin
* 84 lbs of methamphetamine
* 138 lbs of cocaine
* 632 lbs of marijuana

The success in drug seizures noted last year is continuing during the first couple months this year. Examples of the ongoing work by OSP troopers and detectives during the first two months included:

* On January 9, 2012 at approximately 2:30 a.m. an OSP senior trooper stopped a passenger car northbound on Interstate 5 near Wilsonville and subsequently seized 7-one pound bags of methamphetamine. Two California men were arrested.
* On January 30, 2012 at approximately 1:00 a.m. an OSP trooper stopped a pickup northbound on Interstate 5 near Roseburg and subsequently seized over 5 pounds of marijuana. The pickup's driver was wanted on a felony warrant out of California and two warrants out of Yamhill County, Oregon.
* On February 7, 2012 at approximately 12:27 a.m. OSP troopers stopped a sport utility vehicle northbound on Interstate 5 in the Salem area and subsequently seized 1 1/2 pounds of hidden black tar heroin. Follow up investigation by troopers and Drug Enforcement Section detectives led to obtaining a search warrant and the discovery of an additional 4 1/2 pounds of heroin in a second concealed location inside the vehicle.
* On February 9, 2012 at approximately 8:40 a.m. an OSP senior trooper stopped a passenger car northbound on Interstate 5 south of Ashland. With the help of an OSP drug detection canine, the trooper seized 7 pounds of heroin concealed in the vehicle. Two men are facing charges.
* On February 21, 2012 at approximately 8:44 a.m. an OSP trooper stopped a sport utility vehicle northbound on Interstate 5 near Cottage Grove. With the help of an OSP drug detection canine, the trooper located and seized over 15 pounds of marijuana and six ounces of hashish. The ongoing investigation by OSP Drug Enforcement Section detectives in partnership with Humboldt County, California Drug Task Force led to additional seizures of marijuana and marijuana grow site. Three men were arrested in connection with the traffic stop.
* On February 24, 2012 at approximately 11:35 a.m. an OSP trooper stopped a pickup northbound on Highway 97 near Gilchrist and subsequently seized 24 pounds of marijuana. An ongoing investigation by troopers and detectives led to search warrants being served at the suspect's rental home near Sunriver where an indoor marijuana grow operation was found along with an additional 100 pounds of marijuana. One person was arrested.

Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriffs' Association, and Oregon Association Chiefs of Police urge everyone to report drug-related tips or suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency or drug task force.