Authorities in Portland, Oregon, have uncovered a horrific drug trafficking operation, leading to the biggest fentanyl bust in the history of Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. This operation was carried out in Portland’s Goose Hollow neighborhood, where deputies seized 58,000 fentanyl pills and 16 pounds of fentanyl powder packaged in gallon-sized plastic bags. The street value of the drugs seized is estimated to be between $320,000 and $400,000. The law enforcement agency also seized scales, manual-operated and commercial-grade pill presses amounting to large-scale production capabilities. To our astonishment, $5,000 in cash was recovered along with a stolen handgun.
The investigation into this operation has been ongoing for several months and was carried out by the sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit. The agency has expressed their focus on disrupting large drug trafficking and criminal organizations. It is alarming that Portland is notorious for open-air drug dealing, public urination, and petty crime. The apprehension of a suspect has been made, but their identity has not been released to the public.
Following last year’s bust of 92,000 fentanyl pills and other drugs during a traffic stop, fentanyl continues to cause destruction in Portland. The drug, a synthetic opioid that is cheap to make and easily transported, is about 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Due to the potency and easy availability of this substance, users may often be unaware that they are consuming fentanyl, which can be deadly even in small doses. One pill can kill, emphasized the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in a press release.
While the country is grappling with a devastating opioid epidemic, the opioid crisis in Portland continues to worsen. The DEA reported that six out of ten fentanyl pills they test contain a potentially lethal dose. In 2022, over two-thirds of the 107,081 drug overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids, mostly illegal fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Portland’s fentanyl crisis is hence worrisome, where eight people lost their lives to suspected fentanyl powder overdoses over the weekend of May 12.
The gravity of the situation in Portland goes beyond drug trafficking. Crime rates have soared since COVID-19, with homicides rising from 36 in 2019 to a record 97 in 2022, and car thefts increasing to 11,000 last year, up from 6,500 in 2019. The homeless population in Oregon has risen by 23% in two years, one of the highest increases in the country, which highlights the crisis facing vulnerable communities.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is dealing with a significant public safety threat, which is not just an medical issue but a social and economic problem that challenges the safety and well-being of individuals and businesses in Portland. It’s high time for authorities to address the rampant drug trafficking in Portland and take concrete measures to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.