News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sheriff's lieutenant clarifies drug presence

Fentanyl may not be the looming menace for Sisters that it is in many U.S. cities (see “Fentanyl crisis yet to touch Sisters, The Nugget, May 10, page 1), but Lt. Chad Davis of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) wants to be clear that it is a presence in the community.

“The Sheriff’s Office has arrested individuals in Sisters with fentanyl and we know it is in our community,” Davis told The Nugget. “We have had a small number of overdoses, but no recent deaths. We know fentanyl comes through Sisters via Highway 20 from the Valley, and also enters Deschutes County by way of Highway 97 from California.”

A reader noted that “overdoses aren’t the only problem,” referencing Nugget reporting on a November 2022 incident in which the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team (CODE) arrested a Sisters man for trafficking fentanyl.

At the time, Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office reported that an initial investigation alleged that the Sisters man imported fentanyl pills from the Portland area into Central Oregon for distribution.

Detectives from CODE and DCSO gathered and seized a commercial quantity of fake pharmaceutical tablets made of fentanyl, and a separate package of methamphetamine.

The greater Portland area is a central transshipment hub where illegal drugs from the southwest border are stored in local warehouses, storage units, and residential properties, according to law enforcement. In addition, law enforcement notes, the Portland area has an international airport, interstate highways, and bus and train lines that make it easy for shipments to be smuggled to other destinations around the Pacific Northwest.

Law enforcement warns that fentanyl often is delivered in fake pills designed to look like real prescription pills based on size, shape, color, and stamping. These fake pills typically replicate real prescription opioid medications.


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