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Mexican drug cartels impact local law enforcement

This photo shows the actual size of a lethal amount of fentanyl (white powder to the right of the penny). Photo courtesy of the DEA.

PENDLETON, Oregon – Border security is a hot topic nationally, and Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts says drug smuggling from Mexico is a problem that impacts the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team frequently. Many BENT investigations point straight to south of the border.

“There are a lot of investigative tools that are utilized to determine where these drug trafficking organizations are operating out of, how they’re distributing, where their products are going, and how they’re getting there,” he said.

BENT detectives have had a hand in several investigations that have been prosecuted on a national level.

“They’re difficult cases to put together, but we’re certainly putting them together,” Roberts said. “We’re actively participating with large-scale investigations.”

While BENT focuses on Umatilla and Morrow Counties, it has participated in investigations throughout Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho. It has also aided in investigations involving Mexico, Canada, and other foreign countries. The team is comprised of detectives from PPD, Oregon State Police, Umatilla Tribal Police Department, Hermiston Police Department, Milton-Freewater Police Department, the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, and the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office

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