Mexican cartels have turned Oregon into a deadly drug den

East Oregonian
Mexican cartels have turned Oregon into a deadly drug den

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2014 10:32 pm

By David Olen Cross | East Oregonian |

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 were caused by the illicit drugs. The types of drugs by the numbers that killed 222 of the state’s residents last year were 123 deaths from methamphetamine, 111 deaths from heroin, 12 deaths from cocaine or 26 deaths from a combination of the preceding drugs.

Umatilla County had three drug related deaths last year; all the county’s drug deaths were from methamphetamine.

Adding up OME report numbers from 2006-2013 there were 1,752 illicit drug related deaths that occurred in the state:

– 2006 OME reported 213 deaths from illicit drugs; in 2007, 212 deaths; in 2008, 229 deaths; in 2009, 213 deaths; in 2010, 200 deaths; in 2011, 240 deaths; in 2012, 223 deaths; in 2013, 222 deaths from illicit drugs.

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.

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 being Mexico, 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 up Interstate-5, Highway-97 or down 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 Divers 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 Legislature 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 cartel operatives to access licenses.

Oregon’s registered voters will have the opportunity in the 2014 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 writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime. Email him at :

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