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Feds seize 150K counterfeit pills made with fentanyl

Four men are charged with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Narcotics agents seized about 150,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl and about 20 pounds of fentanyl powder in what federal authorities believe is the biggest seizure of the drug in Oregon's history, authorities said.

The street value of the drugs seized Thursday is estimated at $3.9 million, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Kerin.

Four men are charged with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl.

They are Ufrano Orozco Munoz, 27, Abraham Vera Enriquez, 29, Jesus Miguel Zamora Cruz, 36, and Jose Javier Valdez Paramo, 32. It wasn't immediately known if any of them have attorneys who can comment on the case.

RELATED: Fake prescription drugs containing fentanyl becoming available at an alarming rate, DEA says

Officers seized the drugs this week during a drug buy between the men and a federal informant in an Oregon City parking lot, according to a Homeland Security Investigations agent.

One of the men removed a black bag from the trunk of a vehicle, showed the informant the drugs and told the informant additional drugs were concealed in a speaker box, according to the agent’s affidavit in support of a criminal complaint.

Investigators then seized the drugs and arrested the men, the affidavit said.

“To say that the defendants are significant drug dealers is an understatement,” Kerin wrote to the court in a memo seeking the four men’s continued detention.

Orozco Munoz was arrested earlier this year in Arizona after he was found with 50,000 counterfeit pills made with fentanyl, Kerin said. He posted bail and and fled to Mexico, according to federal prosecutors.

He’s accused of contacting a federal informant in February who was working in Arizona and advising the informant that he had a family member living in Oregon who could get him hundreds of thousands of counterfeit pills, according to federal prosecutors.

RELATED: US drug overdose deaths hit never-before-seen level

The four men charged remain in custody in the Multnomah County Detention Center.

Drug dealers regularly sell counterfeit oxycodone pills, manufacturing them with fentanyl and attempting to replicate the real pills.

Oregon Medical Examiner Dr. Sean Hurst told lawmakers earlier this year that there were 237 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the state in the first half of 2021, up from 230 during the same period in 2020 and a significant jump from the 75 recorded in the first half of 2019.

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