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Law enforcement agencies bust drug ring in Southern Oregon

 Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman speaks at a press conference on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.
Mike Zacchino
Grants Pass Police Department
Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman speaks at a press conference on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.

The 18-month-long investigation was led by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Grants Pass Police Department and the Oregon State Police.

Along with the arrests, the team seized 37 firearms, $33,000 cash, 40 pounds of meth and enough fentanyl to deliver almost 150,000 lethal doses.

 “We need to recognize as a team that overdoses in Southern Oregon are at an all time high," said Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman. "It’s absolutely disgusting when you think about the amount of life that is lost to overdose-related death.”

The announcement comes a month after Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden publicly pressured the DEA to beef up staffing and resources in Southern Oregon at an October meeting with local law enforcement.

Wyden said the DEA was virtually non-existent in the Rogue Valley, and asked the agency's top official for answers. At the time, a DEA official told Wyden the agency had a plan to fully staff Southern Oregon within six to 12 months, according to the Rouge Valley Times.

DEA Special Agent in Charge David Reames said they know the fentanyl and meth from this investigation came from international sources.

"It ultimately came from Chinese chemical companies, processed in Mexico and shipped north. So we know how that sort of mechanism of where these things come from. So we'll follow the chain of evidence back to where it started."

The drug trafficking case is being prosecuted by the Josephine County District Attorney. The DEA did not release the names of the individuals arrested, but said they're being held in Josephine County.
Copyright 2023 Jefferson Public Radio.

After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the west coast. When not out in the field, Roman enjoys travelling and cross-stitching.