Mexican cartels turn state into a lethal drug den

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Guest commentary: Mexican cartels turn state into a lethal drug den

Oregon DOC must re-examine how it deals with drugs in order to best protect its citizens

Posted: Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:00 am

By DAVID OLEN CROSS Guest Writer Herald and News

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.

Twenty-three of the state’s 36 counties had at least one death from illicit drugs in 2013.

Klamath County had two drug related deaths last year 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 report 213 deaths from illicit drugs.
■ 2007 OME report 212 deaths from illicit drugs.
■ 2008 OME report 229 deaths from illicit drugs.
■ 2009 OME report 213 deaths from illicit drugs.
■ 2010 OME report 200 deaths from illicit drugs.
■ 2011 OME report 240 deaths from illicit drugs.
■ 2012 OME report 223 deaths from illicit drugs.
■ 2013 OME report 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 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 being 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 up Interstate 5, Highway 97 or down Interstate 84 hidden in the bowels of cars, SUVs and trucks.

The cartels’ drug mules and dealers who operate motor vehicles bringing drugs into the state or distributing drugs across state lines need some form of identification like an Oregon Divers License or Drivers Card to move around. In that way, 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 drug 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.

The author
David Olen Cross of Salem writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime. He does a weekly report on criminal aliens in the state on the Lars Larson Show radio program heard locally Thursdays, between 2:45 – 3 p.m., on KFLS 1450 AM. He has testified before the Governor’s Commission on Public Safety on the cost burden foreign national prisoners place on the Oregon Department of Corrections prison system. Contact him at:

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