Portland, OR – A major drug trafficking operation was dismantled this week after law enforcement seized 370 gallons of liquid heroin and arrested four men with ties to a notorious Mexican cartel. The massive drug bust went down in the Portland area on January 25th.
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon, the heroin seizure stemmed from an ongoing investigation into a transnational criminal organization. On January 24th, investigators tracked two vehicles traveling west on Interstate 84 – a rented moving truck and a red pickup truck.
The trucks were monitored driving through the Columbia River Gorge then exiting in Tigard, Oregon. After a brief stop in Beaverton, the vehicles arrived at a motel in Tigard. Surveillance teams kept close watch on the suspects’ movements.
Early on January 25th, investigators obtained federal search warrants for the motel room and both trucks. When the warrants were executed, officers made a shocking discovery.
Inside the moving truck sat eight 55-gallon barrels containing approximately 370 gallons of liquid heroin. The narcotics weighed around 1.4 metric tons, making it one of the largest heroin busts in Oregon history.
Additionally, two loaded handguns were found inside the motel room where the suspects were staying. Four men were arrested at the scene without incident. They were identified as Marco Magallon (44), Luis Woodward (26), Jorge Amador (25), and Santos Aguilar Maya (32). All four suspects hail from Yakima, Washington except Maya, whose residence is unknown.
According to court documents, the massive heroin shipment was connected to a Mexican drug cartel. The men allegedly transported the illicit liquid heroin across state lines as part of a conspiracy to distribute the narcotics in the Portland area and beyond.
The barrels containing the heroin were transported to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for analysis. Lab tests confirmed the substance was indeed liquid heroin.
The four defendants appeared in federal court on Friday, January 27th. They face charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession with intent to distribute. Additional charges may be handed down as the investigation continues.
Authorities are still working to determine where the heroin originated and how it entered the United States.
The record-breaking heroin seizure deals a major blow to the unnamed Mexican cartel behind it. Investigators pledge to follow up on any leads or connections stemming from the case.
Anyone with related information is urged to contact the Portland Police Bureau or the FBI. Off the streets, the 370 gallons of liquid heroin had an estimated street value in the tens of millions.