In early November, members of the Portland Police Bureau Drugs and Vice Division's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Interdiction Taskforce, known as HIT, learned of a Fentanyl overdose death that occurred in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Based on the investigation in Green Bay, law enforcement linked the package to the Portland Metropolitan Area.
Investigators in the HDITA Interdiction Taskforce continued to investigate the connection between the parcel that was shipped from the Portland area to Green Bay. During the investigation, the HIDTA Interdiction Taskforce connected the parcel to a location in Lake Oswego. A warrant was requested and issued for a residence, two banks and a vehicle. Members of the HIDTA Interdiction Taskforce served the warrants on Tuesday, November 21 and Wednesday, November 22, 2017.
During the investigation and warrants, investigators located evidence of drug sales and arrested 33-year-old Joseph R. Caruso in the 100 block of Kerr Parkway in Lake Oswego.
Caruso was lodged in the Multnomah County Jail on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, on a United States Marshal Hold associated to the sale and distribution of illegal narcotics. Caruso will have a second hearing at 1 p.m. at the United States Courthouse in Downtown Portland on Monday, November 27, 2017.
This is the third major case this year that the HIDTA Interdiction Taskforce has worked with ties to the Dark Net, Fentanyl and overdose deaths. Officials want to warn the public that Fentanyl and other opioid analogs are extremely potent and have caused accidental overdose deaths in Portland and around the state. Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine, but it crosses the blood-brain barrier faster than more commonly encountered opioids and can be 100 to 10,000 times more potent than morphine or heroin.
In Oregon, 80 people have died in accidental overdoses from synthetic opioids since 2014, but the deaths are increasing according to the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office.
"Illegal use of opioids in our community affects everyone and is an epidemic in our country," said Chief Danielle Outlaw. "I am proud of the work that is being done by the members of the Drugs and Vice Division and our partner agencies in regard to these complex investigations, to locate those individuals selling these dangerous drugs and hold them responsible."
The Portland Police Bureau Drugs and Vice Division's HIDTA Interdiction Taskforce is comprised of members from the Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service and Portland Police Bureau. The HIDTA Interdiction Taskforce also works closely with the United States Attorney's Office.
Anyone with information about the sale or distribution of illegal narcotics should contact the Portland Police Bureau's Drugs and Vice Division at 503-823-0246.
There is help for those in our community affected by addictions. Call the Multnomah County for Addiction Treatment at (503) 988-4888.
Source: Portland Police Bureau