Heroin dealer who played part in Keizer woman's fatal overdose gets 18 years in prison

The death of Ron Putnam's daughter hits him just as hard today as when she died three years ago.

Four days after the April 2012 fatal heroin overdose of Laurin Putnam, authorities arrested at least half a dozen drug dealers suspected of being part of a heroin supply chain...

Seven men faced federal charges and another three were accused in Marion County Circuit Court. The state charges against the trio have been dismissed, court records show, and Tuesday marked the federal sentencing of the second of the seven remaining suspects.

The lengthy criminal proceedings have worn on the 21-year-old's family, Ron Putnam said....

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon sentenced Gerardo Chalke-Lopez, 40, to 18 years in prison Tuesday for conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in the death of another person, and for illegal re-entry....

The federal prosecutions are under the Len Bias law, named after a University of Maryland basketball player who died of a cocaine overdose in 1986. The law enables prosecutors to seek stiffer penalties against people involved in the distribution of a drug that leads to a fatal overdose.

Jose Aldana Soto, 33, was sentenced April 8 to three years and 10 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in the death of another person. Sergio Quezada Lopez, Chalke-Lopez's younger brother, is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday.

Court records show Christopher Wood, 22; Rigoberto "Jose" Romo Gonzalez, 25; Julian Hernandez Castillo, 34; and Carlos "Braulio" Acosta Mendoza, 36, have all pleaded guilty to charges linked to Putnam's death...

Laurin Putnam was found dead in her apartment two days after she moved into it. Prosecutors said the West Salem High School graduate first started taking painkillers to help recover from an injury related to playing softball and her addiction to the medication later led to heroin use.

Chalke-Lopez ran a heroin trafficking operation that went through Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Nevada, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen Bickers.  He has been the target of state and federal investigators for 10 years for drug-related offenses, she said.

Chalke-Lopez went by "La Loca," which means the crazy woman in Spanish, Bickers said. He has been deported to his native Mexico three times since 2006, a government's sentencing memo said. In that same year, he was convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin.

In 2010, Multnomah County Sheriff's investigators stopped Chalke-Lopez in a vehicle later determined to have more than a pound and a half of heroin hidden inside, but he was released before the drugs were found, the memo said.

Chalke-Lopez's brother, Quezada-Lopez, 35, was one of the half-dozen arrested since after Putnam's death. Chalke-Lopez was arrested three months later...

...Chalke-Lopez was recorded telling someone that he planned to cause harm to a person who cooperated with authorities against his younger sibling and referenced where the informant's family lived in Mexico, the memo said.

The possible danger Chalke-Lopez posed to those who aided investigators made him a huge threat, Bickers said.

The arrest of his brother and death of Putnam didn't deter the older sibling, according to Bickers. He continued working with another high-level heroin trafficker and others up until his arrest, where he was found with more than a pound of heroin.

The Putnam family is still learning how to deal with the loss of Laurin, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kemp Strickland. The 21-year-old's mother, Julie, who was also in court Tuesday, has struggled with anxiety, depression, alcohol and other issues brought on by the grief of her daughter's death...

Bickers recommended 18 years in prison for Chalke-Lopez. Tyl Bakker, Chalke-Lopez's attorney, asked the judge to impose an 11-year sentence. He said his client has a drug addiction himself and that his age and prior lack of incarceration should be taken into account.

Chalke-Lopez asked Simon for leniency and a chance at redemption....

After the sentencing, Chalke-Lopez shuffled out of the courtroom under the glares of Ron and Julie Putnam....

Two I-5 traffic stops net 29 pounds of meth

Oregon State Police troopers last week intercepted nearly a quarter-million dollars worth of crystal methamphetamine on its way from Southern California to Washington in two separate vehicle stops on Interstate 5 in Jackson County, authorities said.

The biggest haul came on April 1 when a traffic stop of a northbound vehicle near milepost 35 netted 28 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and the arrest of that vehicle's driver, with a similar stop April 3 near milepost 13 gaining another pound of the illegal drugs, OSP reported.

"It was officers looking past the initial traffic stop and developing some reasonable suspicions that led to consent searches," OSP Sgt. Jim Johnson said.

In the April 1 stop, driver Raymundo Cota Sauceda, 40, of Washington, was pulled over for an unspecified traffic infraction and told police he was en route from Southern California to Seattle, police said. After further investigation a consent search was made and a narcotic canine came to the scene to assist, police said.

The packaged methamphetamine was found in a cardboard box in the vehicle's trunk, and Sauceda was arrested on charges of possession and manufacturing of methamphetamine, police said.

The packaged methamphetamine was found in a cardboard box in the vehicle's trunk, and Sauceda was arrested on charges of possession and manufacturing of methamphetamine, police said.

In the April 3 stop, Martinez Miguel Navarro, 44, was stopped for an unspecified traffic infraction. With his consent, officers searched his vehicle and found about a pound of meth under the front seat, OSP reported.

Methamphetamine has a running street value in Southern Oregon of about $7,000 to $8,000 a pound, but it does fluctuate, Johnson said.

"It's cheaper when you get down to the border and more expensive as you go north," Johnson said.

Navarro was being held Monday in the Jackson County Jail on a fugitive warrant out of Washington and on a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold, jail records state. No jail records were found on Sauceda on Monday.

The investigation was conducted by troopers from the Oregon State Police Highway Interdiction team, Oregon State Police Drug Enforcement Section and agents from Homeland Security. The investigation is ongoing.

"We're hoping that there's possibly more arrests," Johnson said.


Ex-Arizona governor to address GOP

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican known for clashing with the Obama administration on illegal immigration, will speak at a GOP political fundraiser in Eugene next week.

Brewer will be the keynote speaker at the Lane County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner on April 9.

“She is a strong, politically courageous leader and inspiring speaker,” said Cindy Land, Lane County Republican Party chairwoman. “We are excited to hear her uplifting message, as we stand up against one-party rule for better jobs, better educational opportunities and better individual freedom for Oregonians.”

Brewer was Arizona’s governor from 2009 until this January, when the Arizona Constitution’s term limits ended her run.

She became famous four years ago for signing a bill to crack down on illegal immigration in Arizona. The Obama administration opposed the bill.

A year later, Brewer again made headlines after a photo was taken of her pointing a finger at President Obama when she greeted him at the Phoenix airport.

In 2013, the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C., rated Brewer as one of the worst governors in America, while the conservative Newsmax magazine that same year named Brewer among the 25 most influential women in the GOP.

In an interview, Brewer said she will talk to Lane County Republicans about education, illegal immigration and other issues.

“I’m going to talk about how the federal government has disappointed us on illegal immigration,” she said. “And I’ll talk about what is right with our country, what is wrong with our country, and how we can make it better.”

The Lincoln Day Dinner is the local GOP’s main way to raise money so it can support Republican candidates.

In recent years, the local party has paid Sarah Palin, John Bolton and other well-known Republicans to speak at the event, which typically takes place after February.

But last year the county GOP failed to organize the event after disputes among Republicans led the party’s top three leaders to resign.

Instead, Community Action Network, the political action committee of the conservative-leaning Eugene group Healthy Communities Initiative, brought former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee to town as the keynote speaker for its own political fundraiser.

Land, who ran unopposed for the top post in the county GOP party, was elected by GOP central committee members in November.

“Last year, we had some very passionate individuals who had some very strong opinions that caused some confusion in the party,” she said.

“It took a while for it to work its way through the system, and for leadership to listen and be inclusive of everyone in the party. We are a much stronger organization today than we were a year ago.”

Dennis Morgan, executive director of Community Action Network, said he’s glad the local Republican Party will resume hosting the event.

“It’s great they got it organized and they could put it on,” he said.

For Brewer’s speech, Republicans hope to sell 300 tickets, most for $100 apiece.

Land said the agreement with Brewer’s speaking engagement firm prevents her from disclosing Brewer’s speaking fee.

Arizona residents, officials tell senators Southwest border ‘is not secure’

WASHINGTON – Local law enforcement must be involved in securing “the rural parts of the Southwest border,” which is still dangerously insecure, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels told a Senate panel Tuesday....

“I want to be crystal clear: The border is not secure,” said Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent who was testifying on behalf of the National Border Patrol Council.

Cabrera said some people don’t realize the extent of border issues because the Department of Homeland Security uses data that inaccurately shows that border patrol agents are “75 percent effective in apprehending illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.”

A more realistic metric is somewhere between 35 – 40 percent – and that percentage is even lower when dealing with experienced criminals in the drug cartels, he said.

Dannels said trafficking of drugs and people has “diminished the quality of life” for residents of Cochise County and placed “unbearable strain” on the county’s budget and resources.

Dannels laid the problem squarely at the feet of federal officials, whose changes to border priorities in the 1990s forced illegal activity into the rural areas along the border.

“I am not proud to say that today we are a product of the federal government’s plan,” Dannels said.

Dannels said that fear is rampant along the border – with many of his constituents afraid to leave their homes.

“It’s just a horrible way to live when we live in the United States,” he said.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said at the hearing that the border can be secured through proper use of assets, strategies and technology.

“Those who say, well you just can’t do it – they obviously are incorrect because every nation has the obligation to have a safe and secure border,” McCain said....

“Those that choose to live on our border should deserve the same freedom and liberty as those that live here in D.C., Iowa and beyond,” Dannels said.

APD arrests three in meth bust

Albany Police Department made its largest methamphetamine bust of the year so far on Wednesday, arresting three suspects and seizing three-fourths of a pound of the drug, falsified identification cards and a few thousand dollars in cash, said Sgt. Jerry Drum.

“From all appearances, they are experienced drug dealers,” Drum said.

Five children also were taken into custody by the state.

The police department’s newly formed Street Crimes Unit received information of possible drug dealing happening at the Sheffield Apartments, 725 Davidson St. S.E. The arrests came there at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Florencia Isabel Mendoza-Jimenez, 37, her husband Aurelio Ramirez-Quiroz, 26, and her brother Isidro Silva-Ferreti, 30, were each charged in Linn County Circuit Court on Thursday afternoon with delivery and possession of methamphetamine and delivery of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school.

Mendoza-Jimenez and Ramirez-Quiroz also were charged with five counts each of first-degree child neglect. Ramirez-Quiroz and Silva-Ferreti were each charged with first-degree possession of a forged document, as each had a falsified Social Security card, according to court documents.

Judge Carol Bispham set security in all three cases at $500,000, noting that the charged offenses posed a risk to the public, that the defendants did not have strong ties to the area, and that they faced prison time if convicted, thereby creating a flight risk.

She added that there were federal immigration holds on all three suspects. Even if they posted bail, they could be removed from the United States and thereby fail to appear for court.

Drum said that the suspects are Mexican.

He added that a typical user amount of methamphetamine is about a half-gram, which typically sells for about $50. There are roughly 340 grams in three-quarters of a pound, so the street value of the methamphetamine seized Wednesday, if broken down, would be well more than $30,000.

Mexican Drug Cartels Caused the Border Crisis

Mexico’s warring drug cartels helped orchestrate the massive influx of unaccompanied alien children that streamed through the Rio Grande Valley last summer, according to a leaked report from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

...the children did not enter the country entirely “unaccompanied.” How, when, and where the alien children crossed into the United States appears to have been determined by transnational criminal organizations who exercise control over much of the southern border, according to the leaked report first obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

... the cartels were making strategic decisions at the border in response to the actions of former Governor Rick Perry. When Perry deployed the National Guard to the border in the middle of the crisis in late-July of 2014, the cartels immediately responded....

The Obama administration immediately began taking credit for this development the very next month. U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Gil Kerlikowske celebrated the news of fewer unaccompanied alien children crossing the southern border as directly attributable to President Obama...

But the leaked report demonstrates that it was Perry who played the biggest role in stemming the tide of illegal immigrant children flowing into the U.S., not the Obama administration. In response to Perry’s efforts to secure the border, the cartels stepped up their surveillance and scouting activities to uncover vulnerabilities in the system....

Despite the elaborate gang activities detailed in the report, the Obama administration continues to describe the southern border as becoming more secure each and every day. Soon after the massive influx tapered off last year, Kerlikowske said, “Our border has been and remains more secure than it has been in decades.” But the leaked report shows the spurious nature of the Obama administration’s claim.

The increasing number of “special interest aliens,” those from countries that are known terrorist hotbeds, poses a “significant threat to homeland security,” according to the report. “The number of CBP encounters with SIAs in Texas sectors increased 15 percent during the first nine months of 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013,” the report finds. “Over the past few years, these have included SIAs from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Turkey.”

Between November 2013 and July 2014, approximately 143 individuals on terrorist watch-lists successfully crossed the southern border into the U.S. before encountering law enforcement or immigration-enforcement officers.

One of these special interest aliens was a member of al-Shabaab, the Islamic terrorist group. The Somali man was encountered at the southern border in Hidalgo, Texas in June 2014....

The full extent to which the drug cartels and special interest aliens have overrun Texas’ border remains unclear....

“Two months from now, if [another surge of immigrants] occurs, well then we’ve lost that edge, but right now I think we have it,” Martinez says. “We need to learn their pattern so you can get the right staff in there to intercept that. … Either we’re looking at theirs or they’re looking at ours.” The edge the U.S. maintains comes at a steep cost. The report says the state of Texas spent more than $100 million to regain control of the border, but that “ample and compelling evidence” suggests the Texas-Mexico border is still not secure. It is unclear if Texas has the wherewithal to keep the border in check this summer, when more illegal immigrants are expected to arrive.

DHS IG: Nearly 5,000 Aliens in Supervised Release Program Committed Crimes, Absconded

WASHINGTON — An estimated 5,000 aliens were either arrested for committing crimes or absconded over a three year period while they were participating in a supervision program that allowed them to be released from detention and into U.S. communities, the latest publicly available data shows.

In an audit released earlier this month, John Roth, the inspector general (IG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), revealed that a total of 2,010 aliens were arrested for committing crimes while they were participating in a supervised release program in 2010 (576), 2011 (729), and 2012 (705).

Furthermore, the DHS watchdog found that a total of 2,760 aliens absconded while they were enrolled in the same scheme over the same period — 2010 (927),  2011 (982), and 2012 (851)...

“Under the program, ICE supervises aliens it has released from detention, and monitors them electronically,” explained the DHS auditor in a report on ICE’s alternatives to detention. “As a condition of release, ICE requires aliens to appear in immigration court for removal proceedings and comply with removal orders from the United States.”...

Roth concluded that it is uncertain whether the program has reduced the rate at which released aliens have absconded or committed criminal acts.

ICE releases aliens “by means of bond; order of recognizance (unsupervised); order of supervision (which can consist of nothing more than a periodic telephone call to a designated ICE telephone number); an alternative to detention (such as an electronic ankle bracelet, or other form of tracking device); or parole (a form of legal status),” explained the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

The inspector general revealed that 1,341 ISAP program participants violated the conditions of their supervised release, but added that ICE “does not have sufficient resources to re-detain participants who willfully violate [the program’s] terms of supervision, such as those who tamper with GPS monitors or miss appointments.”

ICE enrolls aliens in the program who are “at high risk of committing criminal acts, absconding, or violating the terms of their release” by committing crimes or failing to report, reported the IG....

Mr. Roth revealed that ICE lacks funding “for the number of beds needed to accommodate program violators.”

However, in responding to the report, ICE said it has sufficient detention capacity to accommodate non-compliant participants.

As of February 2014, there were 22,201 program participants.

Congress appropriated approximately $90 million for the program for fiscal year 2014.

According to the audit, ICE does not evaluate the rate at which aliens abscond after they are recommended for release.

In 2013, the CIS found, “ICE freed 36,007 convicted criminal aliens from detention who were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings.”

Among those aliens were criminals convicted of serious crimes, including homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.

Also included were 16,000 aliens convicted of drunk and drugged driving.

Citing a DHS document, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, revealed that 1,000 of the 36,000-plus criminal aliens released in 2013 went on to commit new crimes, including drunk-driving, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

U.S. can't deport 701 violent convicted criminals in Pacific Northwest

For the first time, Immigration Customs and Enforcement has released new numbers on the number of violent convicted criminals ordered deported in the Pacific Northwest.

ICE says there are 701 "Level 1" offenders tracked by the Seattle field office. This includes Washington State, Oregon and Alaska.

According to ICE, "Level 1 offenders are those aliens convicted of “aggravated felonies,” as defined in § 101(a)(43) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, or two (2) or more crimes each punishable by more than 1 year, commonly referred to as 'felonies'."

There are a total of 870 convicted criminals in the area ordered deported. (Click here to see a map of the countries least responsive to ICE request.)

One of the violent criminals ordered deported is Tra Young. He's serving a seven-year prison sentence for an unprovoked attack on a 58 year old man last March in Beacon Hill.

"It was like a horror movie," said Maura Whalen, who witnessed the attack.

The man was getting off a bus to go to Church.

"It was very very violent and horrific," Whalen added, "No weapons but repeatedly punching kicking and kicking in the face."

Whalen didn't know at the time the federal government has tried to deport Young, a Vietnamese national, for nearly a decade.

But Vietnamese authorities refuse to take him back.

Young has victimized people in our neighborhoods and has a long criminal history, from assault, drugs and burglary.

The most infamous incident was at this 2013 Susan G. Komen race, when he was arrested for trying to kidnap a 4-year-old boy.

Young's crimes are the real-life consequences of global political and diplomacy failures.

Immigration expert Steve Miller says right now there's no solution.

"In order to be able to put a person on an airplane out of the United States they've got to have permission from the place where it lands to let them in," Miller added, "almost all the countries in the world will abide by that but some countries we don’t have relations with or have only had recent relations with or some countries which have ceased to exist makes it more complicated."

Because of the 2001 Zadvydas v. Davis supreme court ruling, convicted criminals ordered to be deported can only be held for six months after serving their time - then they have to be released.

"I think that's what's disturbing and worries people that this is still possible and imagine how the families feel that the person who committed this crime is not even supposed to be in the country," said Paul Guppy, Washington Policy Center.

In Young's case, he arrived before 1995, when the U.S. had no diplomatic relations with Vietnam.

Vietnam believes the current treaty it shares with the U-S does not require it to accept people who left Vietnam before 1995.

That's also reason ICE can't deport Binh Thai Luc, who is awaiting trial in San Francisco for murdering five people in 2012.

ICE says these 23 countries have had the slowest response in taking back convicted criminals.

Vietnam, Cambodia, and Somalia have been identified as the most "recalcitrant" with Somalia taking an average of 344 days to issue travel documents.

In Yury Decyatnik's case, he was ordered to go to the Ukraine back in 2002 for a domestic violence conviction.

The problem is he was there when the Ukraine was the USSR so the Ukraine won't take him back.

"I want to leave should be simple right?" said Decyatnik.

He even admitted resorting to threats at the Homeland Security Building in Tukwila to bolster his case.

"When you have a dangerous person and the government is forced to release them into the community that doesn't make any sense to me," said Guppy.

Congress debated a bill that would allow indefinite detention for dangerous foreign nationals, but the measure died last year.

Which leaves us with the status quo and 701 violent criminals in our region who aren't supposed to be here - -just like Tra Young.

He's currently locked up in Walla Walla for assault, but his crimes continue to impact the community.

"It's a horrific thing I’d like to block out of my own memory," said Whalen.

"ICE only has so much resources. I think the real emphasis has got to be who are the priorities to get off the streets to keep off the streets for purposes of public safety," said MIller.

Oregon State Legislature open for business Monday, February 2

Alert date: 
Alert body: 

The Oregon State legislature will open Monday, February 2nd and run until early summer.

Please make an effort to contact your Legislator in person, by email or with a phone message and thank them for their service.  If you have suggestions or ideas, they would appreciate hearing from you.  Always be respectful, to the point and give an example of the issue to which you are referring.  Thank them for their time.

The Capitol is the people's house - own it.  Get involved, be a part of the process and work for toward solutions!

Mexican drug dealer deported six times gets to stay in U.S. for 57 additional months

A federal judge in Medford made sure that a Mexican drug dealer, deported six times for criminal convictions, spends a longer stretch of time in the U.S.

...sentenced Zeus Apolo Guzman-Aguilar to nearly five years in prison -- 57 months -- for illegally reentering the U.S. after his most recent drug conviction.

Guzman-Aguilar's latest series of troubles began on June 17, 2013, when the U.S. deported him back to Mexico after his release from an Oregon state prison.

Precisely six months later, on Dec. 17, 2013, Medford police got a tip he was back in town dealing drugs...

On Feb. 5, 2014, he was convicted again in Oregon for delivery of heroin...

...sent back to Mexico six times after drug convictions, Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron Chatfield reported.


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