>Police chief says cocaine is growing in popularity in central Oregon

   On March 6, members of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team (CODE) arrested a 15-year-old boy after he allegedly delivered approximately one ounce of cocaine worth about $2,300 to undercover detectives posing as drug users.
   The arrest occurred at about 9 p.m. in a parking lot by the Crook County Library, according to Sgt. Mitchell Meyer of the CODE Team.
   "During a separate drug investigation that occurred earlier this same day, detectives from CODE developed information that a drug deal was scheduled to occur in Prineville," Meyer said. "Detectives from CODE intercepted phone calls and arranged to purchase cocaine from an unidentified source. This drug deal was set to occur after hours in a parking lot near the public library in Prineville."
   "The Hispanic male juvenile made contact with the undercover detectives in the parking lot and was taken into custody after he delivered to them approximately one ounce of cocaine," Meyer added. "The juvenile was turned over to authorities from the Crook County Juvenile Department."
   The cocaine had an approximate street value of almost $2,300.
   The boy was charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance.
   Prineville Police Chief Eric Bush said it is uncommon for police to make arrests in the city involving cocaine.
   "Very rarely. Once every two to four years in this amount," Bush said. "The availability of cocaine in our community has traditionally been very limited, due to the nature of how the drug is smuggled and distributed. The general availability of that drug in central Oregon varies dramatically, based on the same issues. The fact that one ounce of cocaine was made available on the street here is certainly a 'red flag' for us and very unusual, but not surprising. The resources directly dedicated and made available in the city to combat illegal drugs has not changed, essentially since 1986."
   Meyer, who works with the Bend office of the Oregon State Police and who is a member of CODE said police had not conducted their investigation very long before making the arrest.
   Meyer agreed with Bush's comments on the rarity of cocaine in the community.
   "I can't speak for the patrol division or their other detectives (in Prineville), but as far as the CODE Team, we haven't had that many incidents of cocaine in Prineville," Sgt. Meyer said.
   Police do not anticipate making any further arrests at this time, and Meyer said "it's pretty uncommon" for a 15-year-old Prineville youth to be taken into custody on cocaine charges.
   "One thing I should say is that at least regionally, we are getting more cases of cocaine," Meyer said. He said methamphetamine is not getting less popular, but "we're finding the new trend is that cocaine is getting more and more popular these days."
   CODE Team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force comprised of detectives from the following central Oregon law enforcement agencies: Bend Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Redmond Police Department, Crook County Sheriff's Office, Prineville Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Deschutes County district attorney and the Oregon National Guard.
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