Investigators find 28 pounds of fentanyl pills in parked car; suspect arrested

PORTLAND, Ore. — A California man is accused of possessing 28 pounds of fentanyl in a parked vehicle in Portland, Oregon, authorities said.

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According to a news release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, Jorge Alas-Avila, 31, of Oakland, California, was arrested and charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, The Oregonian reported, citing court records.

The sheriff’s office released details on Friday stemming from the July fentanyl bust in Portland, calling it the largest to date by the Westside Interagency Narcotics Team, according to the newspaper. The sheriff’s office withheld information about the case due to the ongoing investigation, spokesperson Deputy Cole Whipple said.

In a news release posted to Facebook, the sheriff’s office said that the fentanyl seized by authorities is valued at $600,000 and contains 3.5 million lethal doses.

The Westside Interagency Narcotics Team received a tip on July 18 from the Alameda County Narcotics Task Force in California about a large amount of fentanyl being moved out of Oakland, KGW-TV reported. The task force learned that the fentanyl was going to be smuggled into Portland, according to the television station.

According to a probable cause affidavit, investigators told Deputy Christopher Iverson that a white 2015 Mercedes CLA 250 sedan was smuggling the narcotics, The Oregonian reported.

At 6 a.m. PDT on July 19, Iverson was notified that the suspected vehicle was parked in downtown Portland, according to the newspaper.

After 90 minutes of watching the vehicle, a plainclothes officer with the Portland Police Department, with a drug-sniffing dog, walked on the sidewalk near the Mercedes, The Oregonian reported.

When Alas-Avila exited the car several seconds later, he was arrested, according to the affidavit.

Alas-Avila told investigators that he drove overnight from Los Angeles to Portland and was waiting for his girlfriend, who lived in a nearby building, according to The Oregonian. Investigators learned Alas-Avila had an Aug. 30 arrest warrant issued out of Oakland for drug trafficking and obtained a search warrant to enter his Mercedes after he refused to let them search it, according to the affidavit.

According to the sheriff’s office, investigators were granted a search warrant by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. Investigators said they discovered approximately 40,000 fentanyl pills and 18.4 pounds of powdered fentanyl.

The total weight of the narcotics seized was 28 pounds, the sheriff’s office said.

Alas-Avila initially was charged in Multnomah County Circuit Court, The Oregonian reported. Those charges were dropped as his case was moved to federal court. He was indicted on Aug. 8.

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