Authorities bust major drug trafficking ring in Portland - KPTV - FOX 12

Authorities bust major drug trafficking ring in Portland

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Investigators arrested three men they said were involved in a high-level drug trafficking organization in the Portland area.

The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Unit arrested Francisco Sandoval-Rellano in east Portland on Monday. Sandoval-Rellano was allegedly in possession of two ounces of heroin.

Deputies also arrested Jorge Espinoza-Cruz and Victor Reyez-Valadez at an apartment complex off Southwest Scholl's Ferry Road.

Authorities said they seized nearly $17,000 in cash in addition to 4.1 kilos of meth and 3.3 kilos of heroin worth nearly $740,000 from the men's residences. The drugs were hidden in a television set and couch cushions, investigators said.

The men were involved in upper-level heroin sales, according to authorities. The group allegedly sold heroin at wholesale to lower-level dealers, who would then supply street-level dealers.

All three are being charged with possession, distribution and manufacturing of heroin and methamphetamine.

Members of the Special Investigations Unit said heroin use has increased in the last two years partly because abuse of prescription opiates can lead to heroin.

"Ultimately, anybody that gets addicted to any sort of pain med, they realize pretty quickly that heroin is a cheaper fix for them than the pain meds themselves. So, they end up in heroin," said Sgt. Jan Kubic.

Investigators said 40 pounds of heroin is believed to be entering the Portland area every week and the bust only amounts to a dent in the overall problem.

"Heroin is out of control in the Portland metro area," said Kubic. "We are seeing more heroin in more places used by more people than I've ever seen."

Kubic said it's a problem that isn't just a phase.

"The people that are addicted now are not going to stop," said Kubic. "The bulk of them are not going to stop of their own volition."

All three suspects made their first court appearances Tuesday.

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