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Drug raid nets 31 in Lane County.

Byline: Andrea Damewood The Register-Guard

More than 30 Lane County residents were arrested Wednesday after an eight-month federal Drug Enforcement Administration investigation of an area drug trafficking network.

By Wednesday afternoon, 31 people had been arrested for suspected involvement in a sophisticated organization that was importing and distributing heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine in Oregon, Washington and California, DEA spokesman Bernie Hobson said.

The majority of the 31 arrested are from Eugene, Hobson said.

The names and potential charges involved with the arrests were not available Wednesday night, but about two-thirds of those arrested will face federal prosecution, he said.

The DEA said the organization imported illicit drugs from Mexico, and then arranged for their transportation and distribution in Oregon and elsewhere.

DEA investigators estimate that about 55 pounds of heroin and 15 pounds of meth were distributed monthly in the southern Willamette Valley.

"This is a significant drug trafficking organization, when you've got that amount of drugs," Hobson said.

During the arrests, law enforcement authorities confiscated heroin, meth and marijuana, several thousand dollars in cash and a number of vehicles, he said.

More arrests are likely to be made in connection with the DEA's investigation, the largest of its kind in the area for several years, Hobson said.

Some arrested in connection with the investigation made initial appearances at the U.S. Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon, he said, with the rest to follow over the next several days.

"It is my hope the results of this investigation ... will make clear to those persons and organizations that Oregon and the south Willamette Valley is no safe haven for drug dealers," DEA Special Agent in Charge Rodney Benson said in a release.

The arrests, which began early Wednesday, were made with assistance from many agencies, including the Oregon State Police, the police departments of Eugene, Springfield, Junction City and Cottage Grove; and the Lane, Benton and Linn County sheriff's offices.
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Title Annotation:Crime; More arrests are expected in the federal probe of an alleged trafficking ring
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 15, 2007
Words:318
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