Letter: Fight drug cartels by voting against driver card referendum
By David Olen Cross /
Published Jun 29, 2014 at 12:01AM
Continuing the trend, most of the illicit drugs killing Oregonians are produced, manufactured and smuggled into the state by drug cartels operating out of Mexico.
On April 24, the Oregon Medical Examiner (OME) reported 222 drug-related deaths in 2013 caused by the illicit drugs. Of those, 123 involved methamphetamine, 111 deaths involved heroin, 12 deaths involved cocaine. Some deaths involved more than one type of drug, which is why the numbers don’t add up to the total.
Twenty-three of the state’s 36 counties had at least one death from illicit drugs in 2013.
Deschutes County had four drug-related deaths last year.
The drug deaths were evenly split between heroin and methamphetamine.
Adding up OME report numbers from 2006 to 2013, there were 1,752 illicit-drug-related deaths that occurred in the state: 213 in 2006, 212 in 2007, 229 in 2008, 213 in 2009, 200 in 2010, 240 in 2011, 223 in 2012, 222 in 2013.
Analyzing eight years of OME reports revealed there were 944 deaths from heroin, 785 deaths from methamphetamine, 293 deaths from cocaine or 268 deaths from a combination of drugs.
Moving beyond the preceding OME reports’ body counts, a look at the current Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) prison population gives a picture of who is most likely dealing the drugs killing the state’s residents.
On April 1 in the DOC prison system, there were 177 foreign nationals (prisoners with immigration detainers) incarcerated for drug crimes; 159 of those prisoners declared their country of origin as Mexico. That’s almost 90 percent of the foreign nationals in prison for drug crimes.
Most Oregonians are well-enough informed from news reports to know the majority of illicit drugs that originated in Mexico are injected into the state on Interstate 5, U.S. Highway 97 or Interstate 84 hidden in the bowels of cars, SUVs and trucks.
The cartels’ drug mules and dealers operating motor vehicles bringing drugs into the state or distributing drugs across the state need some form of identification, like an Oregon drivers license or drivers card, to move around the state, so they are unhindered by the possibility that a minor automobile accident or traffic citation could bring to light their criminal activities to law enforcement authorities.
Senate Bill 833, drivers card legislation passed during the 2013 Oregon state legislative session, could literally give the cartel members operating motor vehicles in this state a get-out-of-jail free card because law enforcement authorities may simply not have probable cause to search their vehicles unless a serious automobile accident or traffic violation has occurred.
One common-sense solution to reduce future drug deaths in Oregon, which is now literally a drug den of death, is to make it more difficult for Mexican drug cartel operatives to access licenses.
Oregon’s registered voters will have the opportunity in the November general election, less than five months from now, to put the brakes on Mexican drug cartels’ ability to distribute drugs in this state by voting no on Referendum 301 — thus sending Senate Bill 833’s driver cards for those who cannot prove legal presence in the United States into the archives of bad legislative history.
— David Olen Cross is an immigration and foreign national crime writer. He lives in Salem.