Madras residents caught in drug bust
Six arrested in Redmond, Madras
Following an investigation that spanned more than a year, six Madras residents were arrested for drug trafficking on Jan. 13.
According to Lt. Ken Mannix, of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team, about 35 officers from numerous agencies were involved in the arrests and confiscation of about one pound of methamphetamine, which has a street value of about $15,000.
Since 2009, the CODE team had been investigating Andres Garcia-Mendoza, 26, of Madras, who was believed to be engaged in the distribution of methamphetamine in the Central Oregon area.
"Detectives identified individuals involved in this organization, as well as the locations and vehicles that were being used to facilitate this operation," he noted in a press release.
On Jan. 13, the CODE team and Oregon State Police stopped two vehicles associated with the investigation, which were traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 97, in Redmond.
"Both vehicles were stopped and a subsequent search of the vehicles and persons led to the discovery of 11 ounces of methamphetamine concealed in one of the vehicles and on one of the persons," he said.
Arrested and lodged in the Deschutes County Correctional Facility were Garcia-Mendoza, Graciela Mendoza-Garcia, 41, Clemente Mendez-Morfin, 30, and Jaclyn Villa, 25.
All four were charged with conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance -- methamphetamine. Garcia-Mendoza and Mendoza-Garcia were charged with possession, manufacture and delivery of methamphetamine. Garcia-Mendoza was also charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, and Mendez-Morfin, failure to carry and present a driver's license.
After arresting the four people and seizing the evidence and two vehicles, the CODE team executed three search warrants -- at an apartment on Duke Street and a residence on Elm Lane in Madras, and in the city of Metolius.
Evidence seized included a total of about one pound of methamphetamine, scales, packaging material, paraphernalia, firearms and cash.
"When we do these search warrants, safety is paramount," said Mannix. "The idea is to get in and secure everybody in the safest manner. We need to protect ourselves."
Two more were arrested at one of the residences: Melvin Rivera-Lopez, 35, who was charged with possession, manufacture and delivery of methamphetamine, and conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine, and Daniel Ortega-Diaz, 38, who was charged with frequenting a place where controlled substances are used, kept and/or sold.
For the execution of the search warrants, CODE brought in agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and detectives with the Jefferson County and Deschutes County sheriff's offices, Bend, Redmond and Madras police departments, Oregon State Police, and members of the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team.
"It was a long-term investigation that culminated on that day," said Mannix, adding that the investigation is ongoing. "We take comfort in knowing that we took a large quantity of methamphetamine and six individuals off the street."