enforcement

Fifteen arrested in multi-agency drug sweep

Approximately 90 city, state and federal police officers swarmed across the Rogue Valley Thursday in one of the largest methamphetamine busts in recent history.

Fifteen people were lodged in the Jackson County Jail on felony drug charges as part of Operation Clear Green, which focused on a group responsible for selling pounds of meth per week, Medford police Lt. Brett Johnson said.

A yearlong investigation into the group turned up enough evidence for eight search warrants served in Medford, Eagle Point, White City and Central Point on Thursday, Johnson said.

"We've been watching this organization closely since we first learned about them last year," Johnson said.

The case began last summer when Jackson County sheriff's deputies raided a large outdoor marijuana garden. A thousand plants were pulled from the garden by the Southern Oregon Multi-Agency Marijuana Eradication (SOMMER) team.

SOMMER then shared their findings with the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) team during a briefing. The teams found that many of the same suspects appeared in two separate drug investigations headed by both agencies, Johnson said.

Over the past year, SOMMER and MADGE learned that a large group of suspects were working together to move meth throughout the county.

The agencies brought in officers from the Talent, Ashland, Central Point, Phoenix, Oregon State Police, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, and several federal agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to serve warrants at eight locations tied to the drug traffickers Thursday morning.

The drug houses were located on McLoughlin Drive in Central Point, Yankee Creek Road in Eagle Point and Vilas Road in Medford.

The warrants turned up 3 pounds of methamphetamine, marijuana plants, an ounce of heroin, a small amount of cocaine, 1 pound of dried marijuana, three handguns, two rifles and $30,000 in cash, believed to be proceeds from drug sales.

Among those arrested were:

- Benardo Parra-Chavez, 28, of Central Point, was arrested on eight counts of delivery of methamphetamine and eight counts of manufacture of methamphetamine. He was lodged in jail on $4 million bail [Illegal Alien].

- Stephanie Huff, 23, of Medford, was charged with delivery of methamphetamine, manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and first-degree child neglect. She was lodged in jail on $530,000 bail.

- Juan Garcia-Ledezma, 28, of Medford, was charged with five counts of delivery of methamphetamine and five counts of possession of methamphetamine. He was lodged on $2,550,000 bail [Illegal Alien].

- Hugo Flores-Galvan, 25, of Medford was charged with delivery, possession, manufacture of methamphetamine and marijuana. He was lodged in jail on more than $1 million bail [Illegal Alien].

- Antonio Alonzo-Gomez, 43, of Medford, was charged with three counts each of delivery, manufacture and possession of methamphetamine. He was lodged on more than $1 million bail.

- Hector Saldana-Madrigal, 38, of White City, was charged with delivery and possession of methamphetamine. He was lodged on $510,000 bail [Illegal Alien].

- Victor Zaragosa-Infante, 53, of Medford, was charged with two counts each of delivery and possession of methamphetamine. He was lodged on more than $1 million bail.

- Jose Zamora-Tovar, 48, of White City, was charged with delivery, manufacture and possession of methamphetamine. He was lodged on $60,000 bail [Illegal Alien].

- Julie Nichole Parke, 33, of Eagle Point, was charged with possession of methamphetamine. She was lodged on $10,000 bail.

- Bernie George Helms, 21, no known address, was charged with a probation violation. He was lodged on $5,000 bail.

- Jeffrey Baltazar, 35, Victor Solis-Guzman, 24 and Alberto Salcedo-Jimenez, 28, all of Medford, were cited and released for possession of methamphetamine.

In addition, two juveniles were arrested on probation violations and lodged at the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center in Medford.

Teen who caused flight ruckus back to face charges for Ashland incident

A19-year-old Saudi Arabian who allegedly rammed two police cars in February, then was arrested for causing a disturbance on a plane in Portland two days later, is back in Jackson County to face local charges after pleading guilty to the federal charge of interfering with a flight crew.

Yazeed Mohammed Abunayyan pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland, where District Judge Marco Hernandez sentenced Abunayyan to time served and ordered him to pay a $100 fine.

Jail records in Multnomah and Jackson counties indicate Abunayyan was released in Portland Friday morning and transported back to Jackson County.

He will face multiple charges of criminal mischief, driving while intoxicated and reckless endangerment stemming from the Feb. 19 incident in Ashland.

Abunayyan, who family members say suffers from schizophrenia and hadn't been taking his medication for weeks before he was arrested, led Ashland police on a low-speed chase before ramming two police cars, authorities said. After his arrest, he posted bail and signed an agreement that he would remain in the state until his next court appearance.

But on Feb. 21, Abunayyan boarded a Continental Airlines flight in Portland bound for Houston. It was forced to return to the Portland International Airport 30 minutes later after Abunayyan caused a disturbance when a flight attendant asked him to extinguish an electronic cigarette.

Court records said he yelled obscenities, tried to hit two passengers and mentioned Osama bin Laden before he was subdued.

Fahad Alsubaie, 21, a Saudi Arabian international exchange student studying English at Southern Oregon University and Abunayyan's cousin, accompanied Abunayyan on the flight.

Alsubaie said he was escorting his cousin "to keep an eye on him." The pair planned to head back to Saudi Arabia to see Abunayyan's mother, who was very ill.

Alsubaie said he spoke with Abunayyan about a week ago when the latter was incarcerated in Portland.

"He told me he was doing OK," said Alsubaie, who hoped to arrange a visit with his cousin in the Jackson County Jail. Now that Abunayyan is back in Jackson County, "I can't say if he is good or bad now," Alsubaie said.

A Jackson County grand jury on Feb. 28 indicted Abunayyan on 14 charges, including one count of attempting to elude, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, three counts of second-degree criminal mischief, failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged, driving under the influence of intoxicants, five counts of recklessly endangering another person, and contempt of court for violating his bail agreement.

Another count of reckless endangerment and a charge of being an illegal alien have been added since then.

Abunayyan's bail is set at $4,000, but because of his illegal alien charge, if he were to post bail, he wouldn't leave Jackson County Jail unless it was in the hands of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, a jail official said.

Jackson County Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe said Abunayyan's case could be handled quickly.

"We're going to try to plead him out early next week," Hoppe said.
 

OFIR meeting, this Saturday, May 12 at 2:00pm

Alert date: 
2012-05-07
Alert body: 

If you have always wondered what is really happening on our southern border, please join OFIR this Saturday, May 12 at 2:00pm for an in-depth, behind the scenes, where tourists are not allowed tour.  OFIR President Cynthia Kendoll will share her experiences in a photographic journey to places rarely seen by the public.  You won't want to miss this one.  Invite a friend, reach beyond the propaganda and learn what Arizona is dealing with on a daily basis.

One year ago President O'bama declared our borders "mostly secure".  Join us and decide for yourself if you agree.

Saturday, May 12, 2012 - 2 pm

In Salem, at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn,

3125 Ryan Dr SE, just west of I-5 Exit 253, across from Costco.

 

 

Obama Administration Weakens Secure Communities

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) quietly announced last week that it is changing its Secure Communities program to better meet the Administration’s enforcement priorities. The announcement came in the form of a 19-page report ICE released to address a series of recommendations made by the Department of Homeland Security’s Secure Communities "Task Force." (See ICE Response to the Task Force on Secure Communities Findings and Recommendations, Apr. 27, 2012)

While ICE’s responses to the recommendations varied, the agency made a significant policy shift by agreeing with the Task Force recommendation that it should refrain from enforcing the law against illegal aliens apprehended for "minor traffic offenses." (See ICE Response at p. 13) As a result, ICE announced that when Secure Communities identifies illegal aliens pursuant to a traffic offense, ICE will no longer ask the local jails to detain the illegal aliens so that ICE may begin deportation proceedings. ICE characterized its policy shift as follows: "For individuals arrested solely for minor traffic offenses, who have not previously been convicted of other crimes and do not fall within any other ICE priority category, ICE will only consider making a detainer operative upon conviction of the minor criminal traffic offense." (Id. at 14)

Even more disturbing, ICE’s response appears to encourage local agencies not to submit fingerprints to the FBI or DHS for individuals arrested for "minor offenses." ICE states: "It should be noted that states can choose not to submit to the federal government the fingerprints for individuals arrested for minor offenses. In states that do not fingerprint for minor offenses (or that fingerprint for state use but do not submit those fingerprints to the FBI) aliens cannot be identified through Secure Communities because they do not become part of the federal information sharing process in the first place." (Id.) Not only does this directly provide sanctuary cities a way to circumvent the program, but it belies previous statements by the Administration that the program is not optional. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Aug. 8, 2011)

Moreover, despite claims of limited resources, ICE also announced it plans to take action against jurisdictions with arrest rates the agency deems too high. According to the report, ICE and the DHS division of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties have "retained a leading statistician" to examine data for each jurisdiction where Secure Communities is activated and to look for indications of racial profiling. "Statistical outliers," the response reads, "will be subject to an in-depth analysis and DHS and ICE will take appropriate steps to resolve any issues." (See ICE Response at p. 15)

ICE’s announcement that it will limit the scope of Secure Communities is particularly striking because Secure Communities is virtually the only immigration enforcement program the Obama Administration has been promoting. For this reason, the policy change is an unmistakable indication that the Obama Administration has decided to cede even more ground to the open borders, pro-amnesty lobby.

Mexican ID Cards Now Serve as Valid ID in Oregon

Last Tuesday, the Governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber (D), announced that state and local officers will begin accepting Matricula Consular ID cards issued by the Mexican government as proof of identity for illegal aliens during traffic and other stops. (Associated Press, May 2, 2012)

Four years ago, Oregon toughened its driver’s license policies to prevent illegal aliens from receiving and renewing licenses, but now the state is backing down. (The Oregonian, June 29, 2008) Governor Kitzhaber, glossing over the fact that illegal aliens are violating federal immigration law and state laws by driving unlicensed, claimed that police no longer have an accurate way of identifying illegal aliens during traffic stops. (See Gov. Kitzhaber Letter, May 1, 2012; see also Associated Press, May 2, 2012)

Mexican Matricula Consular cards are highly susceptible to fraud. The Mexican government issues them to Mexican nationals residing outside of Mexico, regardless of their immigration status. (See FAIR Matricula Consular ID Summary, 2003) The Mexican government has no centralized database to coordinate the issuance of the ID cards, and multiple cards can easily be obtained under the same name and address, or with the same photograph, making it easy to establish false identities. (FBI Testimony, June 26, 2003).

Moreover, the FBI has long held that the cards are "not a reliable form of identification" and pose dangers to national security. (Id.) Having a Matricula Consular ID makes it easier for illegal aliens to move about the country, avoid triggering watch-lists, conceal identities from law enforcement, facilitate human trafficking and smuggling, and establish bank accounts to wire money outside the United States. (Id.; see also FAIR Matricula Consular ID Summary, 2003)

Nonetheless, Gov. Kitzhaber gave no indication of fear of such risks, instead expressing his goals for illegal aliens to "come out of the shadows and contribute to [Oregon’s] economic recovery," and hinting at his desire for illegal aliens to be allowed to own driver’s licenses again. (See Gov. Kitzhaber Letter, May 1, 2012)

New York Steps Closer to Private Tuition Fund for Illegal Aliens

The New York State Assembly approved legislation last Tuesday that would permit illegal alien college students to participate in the state’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). (El Diario, May 3, 2012)

Bill #A08689B, which establishes the New York DREAM Fund Commission, passed the Assembly by a vote of 163 to 3. (See A08689B Votes, May 1, 2012) The 12-member commission will raise private funds for college tuition scholarships for illegal alien minors. The DREAM fund will also make family tuition accounts available to anyone who provides a valid taxpayer identification number, which the IRS grants to illegal aliens because they do not have valid Social Security Numbers. (See A08689B, May 1, 2012; see also New York Daily News, May 1, 2012)

A DREAM Act report produced by the pro-amnesty New York Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) estimates the cost of funding illegal alien college tuition in New York to be around $17 million annually. (New York Fiscal Policy Institute Report, Mar. 9, 2012) New York’s taxpayers already subsidize illegal alien college students by allowing them to pay in-state tuition rates, and pays over $4.8 million annually in K-12 education for illegal aliens. (See FAIR Summary on States Permitting In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens, Sept. 2011; see also FAIR Illegal Immigration Cost Study, July 2010)

FPI’s report attempts to justify these costs by arguing that an increase in "the education levels of workers also increases their productivity…." (New York Fiscal Policy Institute Report, Mar. 9, 2012) However, the students who would benefit from this tuition funding are currently prohibited by law from being employed in the United States. (See INA § 274A(h)(3))

The New York bill, which is similar to legislation passed by Illinois last year, now awaits consideration by the New York State Senate. (See  A08689B, May 1, 2012; see also FAIR Legislative Update, May 9, 2011)

Justice Dept. Seeks to Intimidate Alabama School Districts

In its relentless quest to prevent state and local officials from enforcing immigration laws, the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week sent another letter of intimidation to the Alabama State Department of Education. In the letter, Civil Rights Division chief Thomas Perez drops a thinly veiled threat of litigation to persuade Alabama officials to back away from its immigration enforcement law, HB 56, and specifically the provision that requires schools to collect immigration data on its students.

To-date, Perez writes, the DOJ investigation shows that "H.B. 56 has had significant and measurable impacts on Alabama’s school children." These impacts, Perez states, have weighed most heavily on Hispanic and English language learner students.

Perez states these findings are based on local school data and anecdotal evidence. The local school data, which Perez says raises "significant concern," shows that between the start of the school year and February 2012, 13.4 percent of Alabama’s Hispanic schoolchildren withdrew from school. Remarkably, however, Perez appears unable to explain whether those school children re-enrolled in the same school district, re-enrolled in another Alabama school district, or left the state. He also does not specify what the normal withdrawal rate is in any given year to provide context.

Perez cites no other data given to him by the Alabama Department of Education to support his conclusions. Instead, he writes that anecdotal evidence backs up his claim that HB 56 is unlawfully impacting Hispanics residing in Alabama. Writing with deliberate vagueness, Perez states that "many" Hispanic students reported staying home from school or withdrawing out of fear and that "many students" conveyed that HB 56 made them "feel unwelcome in the schools they had attended for years." "Hispanic children," he adds, "reported increased anxiety and diminished concentration in school, deteriorating grades, and increased hostility, bullying, and intimidation."

This letter from the DOJ to the Alabama Department of Education is not the first. In November 2011, Perez sent a letter to Alabama demanding its schools provide data about student absenteeism since the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Nov. 7, 2011) At first, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange balked at the request for local school data, but later the state agreed to cooperate with the DOJ investigation. However, it appears that the local school data, which Alabama sent to the DOJ in early April, did not provide the DOJ with the evidence of discrimination it sought as the most recent letter focused almost entirely on anecdotal reports and recitations of existing federal law.

The timing of this last DOJ letter was also unmistakable. It was sent to Alabama officials the very week the state legislature was scheduled to debate and vote on changes to HB 56. As it turns out, however, the Alabama Senate postponed debate on the legislation to amend HB 56 (HB 658) to this week.

Welcome to Heroin City

"Jimmy," a drug dealer in his mid twenties, injects himself with heroin in the bathroom of a West Burnside Street tavern.
On my first attempt at buying heroin in Portland I was told to come back in an hour.
I'm a reasonably clean cut, 34-year-old white man with one wrist tattoo, no drug contacts; a photographer, not an addict.

Within five minutes at O'Bryant Square downtown, I had sidled up to a gaunt middle-aged man, and asked if he knew where I could find some "black" -- a street name for black tar heroin.  "The natives might be back in an hour," he said.  I'd come back in an hour.

Ten minutes later, I approached a young man on the sidewalk across the street from Pioneer Courthouse Square who told me he had just been ripped off to the tune of $15. I asked him for black. He said I should follow him around the corner. But then his girlfriend came up behind me, asking to see my track marks, accusing me of being a cop.


• Editor’s note: First-person narration by Christopher Onstott, story by Peter Korn
 

I had the impression that if she hadn't come by I would have had my black tar heroin, or at least a number.

That's the goal. Little pieces of paper with suppliers' phone numbers are treated like currency on the street. A dedicated addict will pay up to $100 to secure one, and always keeps two or three on hand.

Back to O'Bryant Square, where casually standing around with a group of street kids brought in offers of meth, crack cocaine and pot, but no heroin. Odd, since heroin use in Portland has skyrocketed in the last year.

There were 84 heroin overdose deaths in Multnomah County last year, up from 57 in 2009. A growing body of federal data show that in the span of a few years, Portland has become one of the nation's top cities for heroin use.

Portland is awash in heroin, and it's killing us. That's what the numbers say.

Criminal justice officials and addiction treatment providers say that the numbers only tell half the story. Heroin, they say, has moved from a drug used mainly by the poor to one increasingly used by the middle class.

More specifically, it is being used by young men and women younger than 35 who are looking to move beyond the highs they've experienced from prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin.  All this is made possible, experts say, because heroin is incredibly cheap and easy to obtain here.

Still, I'd been out on the street for close to two hours and I hadn't scored.

Weary of role-playing with street kids, I headed home, stopping first for a drink at the Plaid Pantry on Southeast Burnside Street. Sipping my Gatorade in the parking lot, I hardly noticed the young white man who walked up and asked, "How's it going?"

"Not bad," I answered with a shrug.  He countered with, "Wanna buy some bud, bro?"  "No thanks," I answered. Then I asked, "Got any black?"

That's how easy it was to buy heroin on a Wednesday afternoon in Portland. My new friend told me he lived downtown, but his dealer on 82nd Avenue "gets the best (stuff)."

I explained to him that I was on my way to a tattoo appointment, which was true, and couldn't come with him now. I offered $20 for his dealer's number. The number would lead to a call, a meeting place -- often a MAX station -- and the buy.

Cell phone numbers were exchanged, with the promise of an extra $5 for the contact number. After my tattoo appointment, an exchange of text messages, then a series of very fast phone calls setting up a meeting at a quick market on Southeast Foster Road, where I met my new friend and a scruffy companion, maybe in his late 30s, who I took to be his supplier.

My friend tried to hand me a small bag of black tar heroin. I say I need to use the cash machine inside. Somehow, I've got to tell this guy I'm not a heroin user.

He follows me, basically breathing down my neck, no personal space. The machine spits out $20 and I hand him the money. He starts to hand me the bag, but I deflect him.

He gives me a look somewhere between confused and surprised. But thankfully, he doesn't give me a look that says I'm a cop who has tricked him.

He heads back outside to talk to his companion. I explain that I'm a journalist, not a user. Would he talk to me?

He looks at me and says, "Oh my God, that's so f....ing cool."

Ten minutes later, we're in my car, as Jimmy (not his real name) explains how he went from being a University of Oregon athlete so afraid of needles that he had to turn away from movie screens whenever a scene showed a needle going into someone's arm, to a daily heroin user who gets by dealing and occasionally panhandling.

I agree to drop Jimmy at his home in Northwest Portland. But first, a stop at a pub on Northwest 21st Avenue where he uses the bathroom to inject $10 worth of heroin into his arm.

Along the I-5 corridor

People who deal with the local drug scene --from law enforcement officers to drug counselors -- continually use the phrase "perfect storm" to explain Portland's skyrocketing rates of heroin use and overdose.

According to reports from the U.S. Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials interviewed by the Tribune, meth became harder to produce in Mexico, so the cartels and their gangs turned to producing heroin. Needing a distribution route into the western U.S., the Mexican gangs chose the Interstate 5 corridor.

Meanwhile, according to local addiction treatment providers, a different set of circumstances has been creating a growing demand for heroin in Portland. Oregon has always been an easy place to legally obtain prescriptions for painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin, many of which ended up on the black market.

In recent years, studies ranked Oregon somewhere in the top half dozen or so states for abuse of prescription drugs. One 2007 federal study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that Oregon had more youth painkiller abusers than any other state.

In the past year, state and county health officials, hoping to reduce the number of people becoming addicted to prescription painkillers, changed their guidelines, making it harder for physicians to prescribe painkillers. In addition, drug companies in 2010 changed the composition of OxyContin, making it almost impossible for addicts to crush and inhale it for their preferred jolt.

With prescription painkillers harder to get through local doctors and a favorite painkiller almost worthless to hard-core addicts, the supply of black market prescription painkillers became scarcer, and the price headed up.

Pain sufferers who had been dependent on legal drugs to get through the day, as well as recreational users, needed a new supply. And there was heroin, cheaper than the prescription drugs, plentiful and potent.

As outlined in documents from the U.S. Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center, the Mexican cartels were producing an excess supply of heroin and could sell it cheap, so cheap that local distributors didn't need to cut it in order to make a profit. Instead, they could afford to sell it more pure, and potent, potentially hooking more addicts. But some users, not knowing they might have to scale down how much they injected, died of overdoses.

Dr. Gary Oxman, Multnomah County's public health officer, says he's been expecting the current surge in heroin overdoses. In his view, heroin and prescription painkiller use in Portland are inextricably intertwined.

"I think we probably have these two epidemics fueling each other," Oxman says.

The new wave

Portland has been "a heroin city" for decades, according to Oxman, but until recently the cost of the drug has been high. The new set of circumstances -- cheap Mexican heroin available at the same time county physicians have begun cutting patients off from prescription painkillers -- has changed the fundamental dynamic of heroin in Portland, he believes.

"The heroin got cheaper," Oxman says. "I assume that's not an accidental move on the part of the cartels. I think basically they went from a low-volume, high-price distribution model, to a high-volume, low-price distribution model."

Typically, $10 or $15 will buy enough heroin for an injection that will last all day, according to heroin users interviewed by the Tribune. Prescription pills that will get an addict through the day run about $1 a milligram on the street, so a serious user might have to spend $50 or more to stay high all day, the users say.

Oxman's staff has been studying the overdose problem, even interviewing heroin addicts to get a better handle on what is happening on the street. In an annual survey of people using the county's needle exchange service, 43 percent of heroin users said they became hooked on prescription drugs first. And most of those people were younger, rather than middle-aged or older addicts.

Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Lufkin says many in the "new wave" of heroin addicts started out stealing painkillers from family medicine cabinets or trading for them in schoolyards, made possible because physicians and dentists for years have been prescribing more than individuals needed.

"There's this huge class of people who probably wouldn't have used heroin in their entire lives if they had not become addicted to prescription pills," says Lufkin, who adds that virtually every heroin addict he's interviewed -- a number in the hundreds -- started on pills.

The county overdose statistics back up what nationwide studies have indicated -- heroin has exploded in Portland during the past two years, while its use has remained stable or risen slightly in most large cities outside Oregon.

But physicians across the country have been over-prescribing pain pills, Oxman and Lufkin acknowledge. And while West Coast heroin arrives almost exclusively from Mexico along the Interstate 5 corridor, Portland is not the only city on I-5. Yet there are more heroin deaths each year in Multnomah County than in Seattle's much more populous King County.

One of the most eye-opening studies in recent years comes out of the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy, which tallied drug use data for inmates entering county jails in 10 cities across the country, including Portland. More than one in five people entering the Multnomah County jail in 2010 tested positive for opiates -- far and away greater than any of the other nine cities, which included New York, Chicago and Atlanta.

In Portland, 18 percent of county jail inmates reported having used heroin within the prior 30 days. Chicago was second, with 12 percent reported use.

But what is most alarming about the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program data is how different cities appear to be trending. In all the other cities surveyed, heroin use remained fairly consistent in recent years or grew slightly. In Portland, it has jumped.

As recently as 2009, Chicago's reported per capita heroin user rate almost doubled that of Portland. Four years ago, Portland trailed both Chicago and Washington, D.C. Now, at least as far as testing of people entering the jail, Portland is No. 1 and trending higher.

Low risk, high reward

The National Drug Intelligence Center 2011 Drug Threat Assessment Report says that heroin production in Mexico has risen from nine metric tons a year to more than 50 metric tons. Eric Martin, policy and legislative liaison for the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of Oregon, is convinced that Oregon is getting more than its share.

Martin points to a 2007 map produced by the Intelligence Center which shows Portland/Salem as having the Pacific Northwest's largest Mexican cartel presence.

"Portland/Salem is basically the distribution hub for the entire Northwest region," Martin says.

Deputy DA Lufkin says he's not aware of Portland serving as a hub for the cartels, but logic dictates we might be.

"Everything in this world is connected," he says.

As Lufkin sees it, "Certain things are never going to change about Portland that makes it an attractive city for heroin addicts."

That starts with Oregon's drugs laws, which Lufkin says would make Oregon a logical place to set up a drug distribution network.

Most users or dealers caught selling less than five grams of heroin, according to Lufkin, receive a sentence of probation until their fifth conviction, which can net up to 12 months in jail, but rarely does.

That means prosecutors have little leverage to force most small-time dealers to provide names of people further up the distribution system.

"The cartels have found the place that affords them the least risk in drug seizures and the highest reward in distributing to local users," Lufkin say.

In addition, Lufkin says, Oregon law provides prosecutors little leeway in going after black market dealers of prescription painkillers.

"Even if you were trafficking in thousands of pills of OxyContin, it would still be a probationary sentence," he says.

Heroin addicts regularly tell Lufkin that they moved to Portland because of the availability of cheap heroin.

Part Two of Portland's Heroin Epidemic.

Prosecutor: Treat, don't jail heroin users

As far as Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Lufkin is concerned, an addict who has been arrested multiple times for heroin possession is sick.

During February's legislative session, Lufkin unsuccessfully supported a bill that would have allowed prosecutors to treat repeat heroin offenders as they would people who attempt suicide, and civilly commit them to treatment, even against their will.

Lufkin says he's going to return for a second attempt next year.

The 2012 session's House Bill 4022 would have classified people arrested at least three times for heroin possession as mentally ill, and set it up so they could be committed for up to 90 days of inpatient treatment and a year of outpatient treatment.

The county prosecutes about 1,100 heroin users a year, according to Lufkin, and about half have prior convictions for possessing the drug. Between court and jail, prosecuting a heroin addict runs between $3,200 and $28,000, Lufkin says. And the jail time, when they get it, rarely does addicts much good.

"We can spend all the money that's necessary to bring someone to a jury trial on a heroin charge with no results, or we can adopt a system that actually is the right tool to hit this problem," Lufkin says. "This person has a disease. They're an addict. It's a recognized mental health disease, and we can get them access to treatment and the thing saves money."

But that would be targeting the wrong people, says Alex Bassos, training director at Metropolitan Public Defender.

The problem, Bassos says, isn't the users getting arrested for possessing heroin. The problem is those who are overdosing. And those two categories, he says, aren't nearly as overlapping as people might think.

Bassos says the DA needs to make it a policy to use current civil commitment laws for heroin offenders who have repeatedly overdosed. Those laws, he says, which allow prosecutors to civilly commit people who attempt suicide, should work.

"That is exactly what civil commitment is for," Bassos says. "They have a (medically defined) mental disorder, and that's compelling them to do something which is dangerous to themselves and others."

Bassos, who says the D.A.'s plan "should terrify civil libertarians," thinks it also isn't practical because there are already long waiting lists for the best treatment for addicts -- inpatient beds in treatment facilities.

Lufkin says heroin offenders already require addiction treatment as part of their probation, and that with civil commitment it would happen more immediately and with a huge cost savings.

"The savings in time will help addicts stay alive and get faster access to treatment," Lufkin says. "The savings in money can go back into treatment resources to pay for essential treatment services, such as cutting down the waiting time for inpatient beds."

— Peter Korn

 

Illegal Aliens Continue Going Public to Avoid Deportation

One of the newest trends illegal aliens are embracing as a means to escape deportation might surprise you: they’re going public.

This brazenness is thanks to the Obama Administration’s issuance of prosecutorial discretion guidelines, which direct DHS agents to ignore illegal aliens so long as they are not convicted of crimes the Administration deems serious. (See FAIR’s Morton Memos Summary, Jan. 2012)

This mandated “discretion” sends a clear message to illegal aliens that it’s okay to break the law. The amount of confidence bestowed by President Obama’s administrative amnesty policies has been enough to encourage illegal aliens to come out of hiding, stage their own rallies, and even challenge immigration authorities directly.

Here is a sampling of these “coming out” stories:

• In February, José Luis Zelaya, a graduate student at Texas A&M University, gained attention by running for the highly publicized position of Student Body President, integrating his illegal status into his campaign platform. (Fox News Latino, Feb. 29, 2012)

• Daniela Palaez of Florida gained nationwide attention in March when she was named her high school’s 2012 valedictorian. Palaez, who was brought to the U.S. as a young child, was facing imminent deportation until her story went viral and Florida Reps. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen and David Rivera, as well as Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, made public appeals on her behalf. Within four days, ICE granted Palaez a two-year deferment of deportation, citing prosecutorial discretion. (FOX Phoenix, March 2, 2012; see also CBS Miami, March 6, 2012)

• In mid-April, Florida State University Law School graduate and tourist visa overstayer Jose Godinez-Samperio was spotlighted by the media when he petitioned for admission to the Florida Bar Association. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners is now requesting decision assistance from the Supreme Court, which marked the case “high profile.” (Chicago Tribune, April 16, 2012; see also Orlando Sentinel, April 15, 2012)

• Mohammed Abdollahi, an illegal alien residing in Michigan, brazenly explained that “the more public [illegal aliens] are with our stories, the safer we are.” (USA Today, March 12, 2012) Abdohalli, fearing he would be deported after years of living in the country illegally, got himself arrested and publicly pled his case. Sure enough, his lawyer was notified by an immigration official that Abdohalli would not be pursued for deportation. (Id.) Abdollahi now works for the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA).

• Most recently, Dulce Matuz, an illegal alien and graduate of Arizona State University, was granted a coveted spot on TIME Magazine’s 2012 list of the Top 100 Influential People in the World. Matuz, who is the founder of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, is working hard to reach Latino voters in Arizona with her belief that illegal immigrants deserve a pathway to citizenship. (WCVB-Boston, April 20, 2012; see also TIME Magazine, April 18, 2012)

So many illegal aliens feel comfortable going public under this Administration that they’ve even created their own day of recognition. National Coming Out of the Shadows Day was first hosted in 2010 by the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL). The group’s Facebook page proudly notes that their event spurred “actions of civil disobedience” in a multitude of states. (See IYJL Facebook Page; see also Business Week, April 16, 2012) One such action took place in Philadelphia, where two illegal alien students challenged immigration officers by entering an ICE field office and declaring their illegal status. They were arrested for blocking a street and ICE initially filed detainers on the two students, but eventually released them without consequence. (Bi-College News, March 20, 2012)

While some illegal aliens choose to “remain in the shadows,” a growing number continue to flaunt their status as if their unlawful presence alone merits citizenship, and suddenly a different descriptor comes to mind: entitled.

The rise in confrontational tactics by illegal aliens provides clear confirmation that President Obama’s administrative amnesty measures are serving as positive reinforcement to the illegal community, cementing the idea that illegal aliens deserve citizenship simply due to their presence.

Arizona law and the feds

Wednesday’s argument before the Supreme Court failed to produce even one good reason why Arizona’s law on illegal immigration is illegal or unconstitutional.

The main aspect of the law is that it requires police to check on the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons. And if someone turns out to be undocumented or "illegal," the feds are notified.

Whether this is feasible depends on how it’s done. If Arizona handles things like Oregon, where you have to prove your residency status when getting or renewing a driver’s license, it should be no problem. Showing the license answers the question, and that’s all there is to it. No racial profiling is involved.

The court made clear that it wanted to consider the federal government’s challenge to the Arizona law only in relation to state versus federal power: Does the state interfere with the national government in some way?

States enforce other federal rules or laws. States enforce provisions of the Clean Water Act, for example, or the regulations of HIPAA. Also, the federal Justice Department wants states to enforce the federal prohibition against marijuana. In fact, it looks askance at states like California and Oregon that try to go their own way in regard to pot.

So what is so wrong with a state helping the government enforce its immigration laws?

Before the court Wednesday, the government maintained that the Arizona law could sour U.S. relations with Mexico. But enforcement of U.S. laws can’t be made contingent on approval by another country, can it?

The news reports on this case suggest that the outcome, expected in June, may have an influence on the national political campaigns. But Latinos, the group likely to be most affected by enforcement, have no reason to fear the outcome if the Arizona law is upheld.

If former immigrants have gone through the steps the law lays out, they have no reason to champion the cause of those who have not. (hh)

Oregon, Multnomah County, Beaverton, Tualatin and Portland versus Arizona SB 1070

When the State of Oregon, Multnomah County, Cities of Beaverton, Tualatin and Portland filed amicus briefs in support of the United States federal government’s lawsuit against the State of Arizona over an Arizona law SB 1070, a case that will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court, most Oregonians with any common sense would naturally ask the following question: What do the internal affairs of Arizona have to do with the state, a county and three cites?

Answering the question, the Attorney General of Oregon, the Multnomah County commissioners, the mayors and city councils/commissioners of Beaverton, Tualatin and Portland believe Arizona SB 1070 is civil rights issue.

A statement of fact to send to the pre-mentioned Oregon state, county and city elected officials: Arizona SB 1070 only allows the State of Arizona law enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration law not create Arizona immigration law. Moreover, within Arizona SB 1070 are provisos that prohibit any form of profiling of individuals based on their race, ethnicity, religion, or country of origin.

What should be particularly troubling to Oregonians about the misguided actions of the attorney general, county commissioners, mayors and city councils/commissioners in their collective action against Arizona SB 1070 is their inability to differentiate, call it a cognitive dissonance, between what is an actual civil rights issue and what is a public safety issue.

Some background history, the State of Arizona, a border state, passed SB 1070 in 2010 simply to mitigate the negative cause and effect, the collateral damage, of having hundreds of thousands undocumented foreign nationals (illegal aliens) present or entering the state primarily from Mexico.

Let us look at Arizona SB 1070 simply as a public safety issue concerning both the residents of Oregon and Arizona using some crime numbers and statistics from a comparable time frame.

The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) prison system in February of 2012 had 1,176 of the DOC’s 13,999 prisoners who where foreign nationals (criminal aliens); 8.40 percent of the prison population.

(At the same time, the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) prison system in February of 2012 had 5,291 of the ADC’s 39,835 prisoners who were criminal aliens; 13.28 percent of the prison population.

Comparing the preceding numbers reveals the ADC had 4,115 criminal alien prisoners more than were incarcerated in DOC prisons — 449.91 percent more.

Incarceration cost for a DOC prisoner is $82.48 per day. Therefore, DOC’s incarceration cost for 1,176 criminal aliens is approximately $35,403,715.20 per year.

Whereas, incarceration cost for an ADC prisoner is $59.85 per day. Thus, ADC’s incarceration cost for 5,291 criminal aliens is approximately $115,583,217.80 per year.

Comparing the difference in incarceration costs between the DOC and ADC prison systems, if the criminal alien incarceration numbers were to remain a constant, they won’t, the ADC will spend $80,179,502.55 more this year than the DOC — 326.47 percent more.

Oregonians certainly have a legitimate right to question whether or not the attorney general, county commissioners, mayors and city councils/commissioners took into consideration in their collective action against Arizona SB 1070 the uncounted crime victims and their families, no matter what their immigration status, all victims of the thousands of criminal aliens incarcerated in the DOC and ADC prison systems.

A review of the 1,176 criminal aliens in DOC prisons by numbers per crime equated to the following: 4-arsons; 121-assaults; 33-burglaries; 34-driving offenses; 178-drugs; 5-forgeries; 142-homicides; 49-kidnappings; 68-others; 75-robberies; 452-sex crimes; 11-thefts; and 4-vehicle thefts.

Whereas, the 5,291 criminal aliens in ADC prisons by numbers per crime equated to the following: 10-arsons; 532-assaults; 153-burglaries; 319-driving offenses; 1,721-drugs; 58-forgeries; 497-homicides; 607-kidnappings; 290-others; 373-robberies; 577-sex crimes; 31-thefts; and 123-vehicle thefts.

As dramatic as all the preceding crime numbers are from both prison systems, the numbers of criminal aliens incarcerated for drug crimes particularly stands out. While the DOC had 178 criminal aliens (15.13 percent) incarcerated for drug crimes; the ADC had 1,729 criminal aliens (32.68 percent) incarcerated for drug crimes.

These numbers are significant, the ADC had 1,551 criminal aliens more incarcerated for drug crimes than the DOC — 971.34 percent more.

With so many crimes being committed on a regular basis locally and nationwide by illegal aliens, just read your local newspaper, these Oregon state, county and city elected officials, seemed to have engaged in a feigned ignorance as to the source of the preceding crimes, the country of origin of the majority of criminal aliens in both the DOC and ADC prison systems.

The country of origin of 992 of the 1,176 criminal aliens in DOC prisons was from Mexico — 84.35 percent.

Likewise, the country of origin of 4,820 of the 5,291 criminal aliens in ADC prisons was from Mexico — 91.10 percent.

Leaving the February 2012 time frame of comparison and contrast of the DOC and ADC prison systems, let us just focus on the most recent criminal alien numbers available from the DOC from the last four years.

In a four year time period, the number of criminal aliens incarcerated in the DOC prison system went from 1,061 alien prisoners on March 1, 2008 to a record number of 1,285 alien prisoners on March 1, 2012; an increase of 224 criminal aliens — a 21.11 percent increase.

Over the same four year time period, criminal aliens incarcerated in DOC prisons for drug crimes increased from 117 alien prisoners on March 1, 2008 to 190 alien prisoners on March 1, 2012; an increase of 73 criminal aliens — a 62.39 percent increase.

In a period of one month, from February 1st to March 1st of 2012, the number of criminal aliens in the DOC prison system increased by 109 alien prisoners — 9.27 percent more.

Over the same preceding time period, criminal aliens incarcerated in DOC prisons who declare their country of origin as being Mexico increased from 992 prisoners to 1,066 prisoners; an increase of 74 Mexican national prisoners — a 7.46 percent increase in one month.

Back to the U.S. federal government’s lawsuit against the State of Arizona over an Arizona SB 1070, the Attorney General of Oregon, the Multnomah County commissioners, the mayors and city councils/commissioners of Beaverton, Tualatin and Portland must withdraw their amicus briefs they presented to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the U.S. federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona SB 1070 so the case before the nation’s highest court can be settled quickly.

The State of Arizona’s ability to fully implement SB 1070 empowering Arizona law enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration law will enabling them to more effectively protect the residents of both Arizona and Oregon from the invasion of criminal aliens primarily from Mexico.

David Olen Cross of Salem (docfnc@yahoo.com) writes on the subjects of immigration and foreign national crime.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 12

OFIR members and concerned citizens, you're invited to bring a friend and join us Saturday, May 12 at 2:00 pm for a behind the scenes look at the Arizona - Mexico border.  OFIR President, Cynthia Kendoll traveled with the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and a small group of concerned citizens from around the country on a week long, intensive study of the situation on our southern border in restricted areas not safely accessible to citizens.  Cynthia will be presenting a photographic tour of what she witnessed on the trip.  Move past the propaganda and see what is really happening.  During the trip, specialists in several governmental departments shared how they are impacted every day by illegal immigration.  Mark your calendar and plan to attend.  

Saturday, May 12, 2012 - 2 pm

In Salem, at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn,

3125 Ryan Dr SE, just west of I-5 Exit 253, across from Costco.

 

The ICE public advocate needs to hear from you

In February, ICE announced the creation of a new office to serve as a point of contact for those (illegal aliens and their advocates) who have "concerns, questions, recommendations or important issues they would like to raise."

The office will be led by Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, who has been at ICE since 2008.

Since then, however, ICE has not seen fit to establish a citizen victim's advocacy unit to address the concerns of victims and their families.

Citizens and legal residents who have been affected by illegal immigration – especially those who have been the victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens – should not hesitate to get in touch with Mr. Strait, and let him and his staff know your concerns.

In his blog, he said he is "thrilled" to be in this role, and hopes you'll reach out to him.  He can be reached at andrew.strait@dhs.gov or (202) 732-3999.

 

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