Investigation Leads to Largest Illegal Fentanyl Seizure in Multnomah County Sheriff’s Dept. History

Posted on July 29, 2023

A months long investigation by Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Special Investigations Unit (SIU) resulted in the largest illegal fentanyl seizure in agency history.

Video and photos are available for download in our Dropbox folder.

On Tuesday, July 25th, 2023, MCSO SIU deputies were observing a wanted person in the area of the SW 20th Avenue and SW Main Street in the Goose Hollow neighborhood of Portland. The deputies watched the person walk to a vehicle, and at the opportune time, took him into custody. After obtaining a search warrant for the person’s car and apartment, SIU deputies discovered gallon-sized plastic bags packed with fentanyl pills and fentanyl powder, as well as scales, a manual-operated pill press, a commercial grade pill press, $5,000 in cash and a handgun.

While processing evidence, deputies determined the bags contained approximately 58,000 individual fentanyl pills and 16 pounds of fentanyl powder. Ten of the 16 pounds of powder was ready to be pressed using the machines into pills. A search of the firearm’s serial number revealed the handgun was reported stolen.

It’s estimated that the 10 pounds of fentanyl powder would yield approximately 50,000 pills. Deputies believe the remaining six pounds of fentanyl powder was going to remain in powder form and be sold as that. For context, if the additional six pounds of fentanyl powder was to be converted to pill form, it would yield an additional 30,000 pills.

In total, it’s estimated SIU deputies prevented the equivalent of approximately 138,000 pills from hitting Portland-area streets. The combined estimated street value of the fentanyl pills and powder is between $320,000-400,000.

For investigative reasons, the identity of the subject will not be released at this time.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigation Unit focuses on disrupting and dismantling large drug trafficking and criminal organizations in Multnomah County. SIU initiates investigations based on information received from a variety of sources, including patrol deputies, community members, confidential informants and other law enforcement agencies.

The second largest illegal fentanyl seizure in agency history occurred in 2022, when deputies seized 92,000 fentanyl pills and other drugs during a coordinated traffic stop in Clackamas County.

Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind the public that one pill can kill. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that it only takes 2 milligrams of fentanyl — about the weight of a few grains of salt — to cause a fatal overdose. Today, six out of ten DEA-tested pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. To learn more about the scope of the fentanyl crisis, visit the DEA’s  Fentanyl Awareness page. Information about addiction services and recovery support in Multnomah County can be found here.

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