drugs

Smoke jumpers plant landing in pot 'starter kits'

A team of smoke jumpers fighting fires in the Applegate unknowingly dropped into a 1,500-plant marijuana garden this week, sheriff's officials said.

The locally-based smoke jumpers parachuted into the garden as they were searching for lightning-sparked fires, Jackson County sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.

The firefighters contacted law enforcement, who pulled the plants from the site on Tuesday, Carlson said.

"They had no idea they were dropping into a marijuana garden," Carlson said.

The sheriff's department said it is unusual to find a large marijuana garden this early in the year.

People usually stumble into the gardens in the late summer or early fall.

Most of the plants were small and growing inside plastic pots.

"They were in starter kits, so to speak," Carlson said.

The grow site was littered with hills of garbage, much of it harmful chemicals that can pollute soil and streams in the area, officials said.

At least two people were believed to be camping at the garden, keeping armed watch over the plants as they grew over the summer, Carlson said.

"These plants were going to be harvested in late summer or early fall," Carlson said.

The amount of garbage was disturbing, though not surprising considering what deputies have seen piled up at previous gardens found in the forest, she said.

"If you consider at least two people were eating two meals a day and then throwing the food containers away, and that it takes a lot of chemicals and fertilizers to start these grows, that's a lot of trash," Carlson said. "It's very bad for the environment of our forests."

The sheriff's department is putting together a group of volunteers who will hike into the garden to haul out the trash in the coming weeks, Carlson said.

"We won't just let it sit out there," Carlson said.

There were 1,509 plants at the site, along with hundreds of additional holes dug for future planting. Authorities also found two long guns and other evidence that suggested the garden was part of a Mexican cartel operation, Carlson said. She declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.

Those recreating on federal lands should be aware of the dangers of coming across possible grow sites, officials say. Telltale signs are PVC piping or black poly-pipe, bags of fertilizer, large quantities of trash and camp sites. Those who come across such sites should leave immediately the way they came in, police say. If possible, take note of the location on a GPS and make a waypoint but do not linger or investigate further. Upon returning home, call the local sheriff's department and provide accurate road descriptions and drainage or creek names.

"Anything that doesn't add up to the way the woods should look should give you a clue that you're in a marijuana grow," Carlson said. "Just head back the way you came and immediately call law enforcement."

Most of the marijuana plants at the grow site were small and inside plastic pots, said sheriff’s officials.

Klamath County raids lead to 38 arrests

GRANTS PASS — More than 300 local, state and federal officers, some in camouflage gear and helmets, fanned out across rural Klamath County in the pre-dawn darkness Wednesday and arrested 38 people accused of operating a methamphetamine and gun distribution network connected to Mexican drug cartels. Ten more were still sought.

Darin Tweedt, chief counsel of the criminal division of the Oregon Department of Justice, said the raids were the culmination of an eight-month investigation dubbed Operation Trojan Horse. It started last October when agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives came to the state criminal division with information about the ring. State authorities enlisted the help of local authorities and other federal agencies, and the investigation snowballed.

"We have evidence that shows they are linked to the cartels," Tweedt said of those arrested. "The goal of this particular operation was to send a pretty clear signal that we are not neglecting to enforce narcotics laws in rural Oregon counties. We cast a pretty wide net."

In the course of searching 23 homes and businesses in Klamath Falls and outlying rural communities, police also seized 4 pounds of methamphetamine and 50 guns.

The Herald and News newspaper reported officers used flash-bang grenades and forced their way in to some homes.

"This operation takes a big group of suspected meth dealers off our streets," Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement.

Nearly all of the methamphetamine and heroin available in Oregon comes through Mexico, said Chris Gibson, Oregon director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. Mexican gangs also are responsible for most of the large marijuana being grown illegally on remote national forestlands in Oregon.

The agency's statistics showed that seizures of methamphetamine and guns in Oregon have been trending upward since 2008, along with drug arrests. Seizures of marijuana and cocaine are down. Seizures of heroin and prescription drugs are up.

Law enforcement task forces report they are investigating 47 drug gangs in Oregon, 24 of which are described as Mexican or Hispanic, Gibson said.

Tweedt refused to comment on whether the ring was connected to the killing last fall of two California men whose bodies were found buried on an abandoned ranch outside the rural community of Bonanza, where some of the arrests were carried out. The slain men were identified as Ricardo Jauregui, 38, of Oakley, Calif., and Everado Mendez-Ceja, 32, of Richmond, Calif. They had told their families they were going to Oregon to buy a horse and hay. Their truck was burned.

The arrests overwhelmed the local jail, which has closed whole sections because of budget cuts related to the loss of federal timber subsidies. Tweedt said the Klamath County sheriff opened unused sections to accommodate all the people being arrested. More arrests were expected as police continued serving warrants. Klamath County Circuit Court started arraigning the first of those arrested. A grand jury will start considering indictments next week.

Tweedt said the drugs were manufactured somewhere else then distributed around Klamath County and neighboring rural areas. Very little methamphetamine has been made in Oregon since laws went into effect regulating the sale of cold medicines, which can be used in making the chemical.

Among the 19 people arraigned was Jose Buenaventura Vinals, 50, of Klamath Falls, District Attorney Rob Patridge said. He was charged with two counts of racketeering and two counts of selling methamphetamine. The district attorney's information alleged that Vinals was involved with at least six other people in a criminal enterprise dating back to Oct. 1, 2012. Others arrested included men and women ranging in age from 22 to 49 from Bonanza, Chiloquin, Klamath Falls and Beatty.
 

Attention Registered Voters in OREGON: It doesn't get any easier than this

Alert date: 
June 2, 2013
Alert body: 

Attention Registered Voters in OREGON  It doesn't get much easier than this folks.  An issue dedicated website is now open containing all the information you need about SB 833 and the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses referendum.   The URL is:  http://www.protectoregondl.org/

You can view a complete copy of SB 833 and the single signature petition on the site.

SB 833 signed bill. This is the full bill passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor on May 1, 2013 giving driver privilege cards to illegal aliens.

Petition signature sheet (electronic version). This is a single signature sheet. It includes a summary of SB 833 written in the Secretary of State's office. To sign the petition, simply print this sheet on white paper only - colored paper is not allowed. Then follow instructions on the sheet. Mail signed petition sheets to the address below. Note: Signature sheets are not to be printed out and distributed. They are for personal use only.

The Signature Sheet may appear confusing at first.  It is a standard form used by the Secretary of State for any bill passed on which citizens wish to file a Referendum.  The top section text is supplied by the Secretary of State and identifies the substance of the bill in question.  The bottom section is where citizens send a message, by signing the petition, to the Secretary of State requesting a vote by the people The reference to full and correct copy of the text refers in our case, to SB 833 as passed.

The longer, 10-signature sheets are now available upon request. Please email or call us and let us know how many signature sheets (10 names each) you would like to have sent to you. We need your help collecting signatures.  There are hundreds of opportunities at which to collect signatures in the summer. And remember your friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers may all be interested in participating. 

You can also pick up supplies at many of the upcoming events in which OFIR will be participating.  We will keep you posted!

Many thanks to members for all the enthusiastic, encouraging messages received about this project. 


Protect Oregon Driver Licenses
PO Box 7354
Salem OR 97303

503-435-0141

Send an email to Protect Oregon Driver Licenses

Do you wonder what others think about illegal immigration? Check out OFIR'S letter to the editor link

Everyone has an opinion and one way to put it to good use is to write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Be brief, be specific and be respectful.  A good idea is to ask someone else you know to read it before you submit it, to be certain there are no errors and that your intent is clear.

You can go to your newspaper's website and check out their policy for LTE's (letter's to the editor) regarding the word count limit, the best way and how often you can submit a letter, too. 

If you have a letter published, please share it with OFIR and we will post it on our website.

Don't know how to get started?  Check out some of these great letters!

Kingpin behind Ice Breaker 2 drug enterprise pleads guilty

A man who investigators described as the kingpin of the county’s second-largest known drug operation has entered a plea of guilty as part of a negotiated agreement with the prosecution.

Rogelio Gonzalez-Martinez, 37, of Lebanon, pleaded guilty in Benton County Circuit Court on Monday to one count of racketeering and to five counts related to dealing methamphetamine. Dismissed in exchange were remaining charges of racketeering and of dealing meth, cocaine and heroin.

His sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Prosecutors from the Benton County District Attorney’s Office and the Oregon Department of Justice, and Gonzalez-Martinez’s defense will argue his potential sentence before Circuit Court Judge Matthew Donohue.

Gonzalez-Martinez and 26 others were arrested in March 2012 after area law-enforcement agencies served more than three dozen search warrants as part of a drug bust, which they dubbed Icebreaker 2.

His brother — Abel Gonzalez-Martinez — and Juventino Santibanez-Castro, who investigators identified as the other top men in the operation, were each sentenced to 10 years in prison last December.

The enterprise involved bringing in “substantial amounts” of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine from Mexico for distribution throughout Oregon, according to court testimony.

The raid came almost five years to the day after another huge drug bust, dubbed Ice Breaker, which remains the largest criminal sweep in Benton County’s history. Some of the people arrested in the Ice Breaker 2 raid had ties to the first Ice Breaker case, authorities said.
 

Bill allowing four-year driver's cards passes Oregon House

Thousands of Oregonians will be allowed to drive with four-year driver’s cards, instead of regular eight-year licenses, under a bill that won final legislative approval today.

The House voted 38-20 to pass Senate Bill 833, which goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber for his signature at a May Day rally Wednesday on the Capitol steps. The bill would take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

A similar bill two years ago failed to advance in the Legislature.

This time, however, it was backed by Kitzhaber and major business groups such as Associated Oregon Industries, Oregon Business Association, Associated General Contractors, Oregon Association of Nurseries, Oregon Farm Bureau Federation, Oregon Home Builders Association, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and Oregon Winegrowers Association.

“All Oregonians, regardless of the documents they have, need the ability to participate in the local economy,” said Rep. Chris Harker, D-Beaverton, co-floor manager. “This bill will give them a chance to prove they can drive, get licenses and obtain insurance.”

It also was a major priority of immigrant-rights groups, along with in-state tuition for immigrant students whose parents brought them to the United States illegally as children. Kitzhaber signed that bill on April 2.

“The bill for a driver’s card is equally important,” Kitzhaber said in a recent interview.

But Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, said that holders of such cards may find it harder to get jobs, contrary to the intent of some of the bill’s advocates.

“For all practical purposes, this bill is dealing with those who cannot prove they are in the United States or Oregon legally,” Richardson said.

“You have to wonder that if someone is willing to disregard immigration law, what other laws are they willing to disregard?” asked Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer.

Rep. Vic Gilliam of Silverton was one of the few Republicans to speak for the bill.

“I think it’s a small step forward in facing reality,” Gilliam said. “Can’t we give some hard-working Oregonians a second chance?”


 

Keep calling - SB833 vote pushed to Tuesday

Alert date: 
April 29, 2013
Alert body: 

It's difficult to believe that our Oregon Legislature is on the precipice of passing Legislation that will roll back the tough requirements of the 2008 driver license. WHY?

Many Legislators think that by allowing illegal aliens to again get driver privilege cards they are helping...wait...helping who?  They are helping illegal aliens, of course!  Helping them to get back and forth to their...wait...jobs...it is still illegal for them to work in the US, isn't it?

Those Legislators that support this bill clearly have NO respect for the rule of law, for Oregon's unemployed or for the hundreds of victims of illegal alien crime.

The Federal government may have left the front door open, but Oregon is throwing down the welcome mat!  WHY?  The speculation of that question gives me a headache.

Keep calling and tell your Representative to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 833.  Call, call and call again.  Then, email them, too!

 


 

Town Hall with Senator Diane Rosenbaum and Representative Jules Bailey

Alert date: 
April 26, 2013
Alert body: 
Diane Rosenbaum and Representative Bailey will be holding a district town hall on Saturday, May 4th from 10:30-Noon at the AFL-CIO Office. They want to hear about the issues that matter the most to you and look forward to providing an update on the issues we have been working on in Salem.
 
When: Saturday, May 4th, 2013
10:30am-Noon
 
Where: Oregon AFL-CIO Building
3645 SE 32nd Ave
Portland 97202
(32nd and SE Powell - Ample parking on site)
 
Please...plan to attend and ask why the Oregon Legislature has not heard a single bill that would discourage even more illegal immigration into Oregon (mandatory E-Verify, workplace enforcement, proof of citizenship to access entitlement programs etc. and yet work feverishly to pass Legislation that makes it easier for illegal aliens to be here.

SB 833 is harmful to Oregon and the U.S. and should be voted down

by Elizabeth Van Staaveren

In 2007, when the events of 9/11 and the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission were fresh in the public mind, Governor Kulongoski issued an Executive Order calling for stricter requirements for issuance of driver licenses. He also called upon the Legislature to enact legislation giving the requirements statutory authority.

In our own state, abuses on a significant scale had already been discovered in the sale of fraudulent driver licenses to out-of-state illegal aliens. "It appears that criminal organizations ... are using Oregon's permissive standards in order to assist persons to illegally obtain" licenses, Governor Kulongoski’s order explained.

In February 2008, a new Oregon driver’s license law was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature. It required driver's license applicants to prove U.S. citizenship or legal residence. The law has worked well and citizens have had the security of knowing that illegal aliens and any criminals among them could not easily use Oregon as a source for falsifying their identity.

Why abandon this security in an increasingly dangerous world? It was very irresponsible of Gov. John Kitzhaber to yield to the pleas and demands of illegal alien advocates and actually sponsor a group of them to fashion SB 833 behind closed doors without allowing any input from citizens who represent the public interest. It was not only irresponsible but dangerous, because among the illegal aliens there are many who drink and drive recklessly and have killed or maimed innumerable innocent citizens in road crashes. Furthermore, the deadly drug trade flourishes in Oregon because illegal aliens are either directly involved themselves or can be forced by drug lords to aid them. Even more formidable are the international terrorists who take advantage of weak state driver license laws to embed themselves into a community and hide their massively crippling plans.

Citizenship is meaningless if illegal immigrants are allowed to enter and remain in this country encouraged and unchallenged. SB 833 accommodates and legitimizes illegal aliens, thus tarnishing the value of U.S. citizenship and saying to the world: citizenship matters little or not at all -- anyone can come here any time, and settle.

Already wages are depressed because of the volume of illegal immigration. Our less-educated citizens have to compete for jobs against illegal aliens who will work for a pittance and dare not protest working conditions to an employer. Citizens are losing out and many remain unemployed for long periods, a devastating situation for them, while they watch illegal aliens working at every construction site, in landscaping, agriculture, hotels, restaurants, and various other places.

A recent Gallup poll showed that more than 100 million people worldwide dream of a life in the U.S., and would come here if they could. The U.S. is the no. 1 desired destination for potential migrants. Of course we cannot admit all of them. Immigration laws are essential and must be enforced; otherwise the U.S. is on a disastrous path to overpopulation and chaos. Extending driver licenses to illegal aliens will only expedite the disaster.

This particular bill, SB 833, has been loosely written to allow many crucial decisions to be made by the DMV, an agency which is under political pressure from any Governor in office at the time. As the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association stated in their testimony on SB 833, a driver privilege card should be “very clearly different from the current Oregon Identification Card and Oregon Drivers License. While the current language does provide some direction, Sheriffs believe the statute should be more specific. … Some of these requirements should be statutory rather than strictly administrative.”

The Sheriffs Association also stated that they think “obtaining a driving privilege document should be a robust and rigorous process and … they should be renewed annually. Sheriffs believe a four-year term is too long. …”

Instead of spending time making life here more comfortable for illegal aliens, our legislators should assist the federal government in enforcing the immigration laws. There are many things that states can do to help.

SB 833, granting driver privileges to illegal aliens, is harmful both to Oregon and to this country. Citizens should contact their legislators and urge them to reject SB 833.

Your calls urgently needed

Alert date: 
April 20, 2013
Alert body: 

If you have been wondering if there is anything you can do to help this sinking ship, which is called Oregon, I URGE you to call as many Legislators as you possibly can and ask them to please vote NO on Senate bill 833. 

This bill is very thinly veiled with unsubstantiated proclamations of public safety all while ignoring the simple fact that illegal aliens aren't supposed to be in our country at all...let alone driving back and forth to their jobs!

Call Committee members today and tell them you are very disappointed they have voted to advance this bill:

Sen. Lee Beyer (503) 986-1706 sen.leebeyer@state.or.us

Sen Bruce Starr (503) 986-1715 sen.brucestarr@state.or.us (thank him for voting NO)

Sen. Chris Edwards (503) 986-1707 sen.chrisedwards@state.or.us

Sen. Fred Girod (503) 986-1709 sen.fredgirod@state.or.us (thank him for voting NO)

Se. Rod Monroe (503) 986-1724 sen.rodmonroe@state.or.us

Sen. Chuck Thomsen (503) 986-1726 sen.chuckthomsen@state.or.us

Then, call your own Legislator:  http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/home.htm and tell them you are a constituent and you do not want this bill to pass.  It's bad for Oregon.

 


 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - drugs