Feds allege huge fentanyl trafficking ring run out of Oregon beauty salon | Local&State

Robert Hundley

A person female is accused of smuggling much more than a pound of counterfeit oxycodone pills created with fentanyl and 2 kilograms of heroin in the luggage she carried on a passenger bus from California to Portland in early December.

Yet another human being fulfilled up with a male exterior a McDonald’s cafe in Hillsboro at the finish of December, allegedly handing over a stash of counterfeit oxycodone capsules to promote.

In early January, a man known on the street as “Mugsy” went to a motel place in Wilsonville to choose up two luggage entire of counterfeit oxycodone tablets from a few and fall off dollars from his before drug income, according to court docket data.

The drug transfers, federal prosecutors allege, had been all directed by a former Portland guy leading a significant-scale drug-trafficking corporation that distributed far more than 100,000 counterfeit prescription tablets with fentanyl throughout Oregon and Washington for at minimum 3 several years.

The business is accused of laundering millions of dollars of drug proceeds by way of the modest Mazatlán Natural beauty Salon in Tualatin, even following the enterprise experienced been officially dissolved.

It also concealed the drug income by means of the outright buys of 9 household properties valued at extra than $4.6 million in Portland, Beaverton, Vancouver, North Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, more than eight months, prosecutors say.

The alleged leader of the business, Luis Antonio Beltran Arredondo, 32, who experienced lately moved to Las Vegas, and 10 other individuals have been indicted, accused of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and heroin.

Beltran Arredondo and his girlfriend, Jacqueline Paola Rodriguez Barrientos, 41, also are accused of laundering millions in drug proceeds, the U.S. Attorney’s Office environment in Portland introduced Friday.

Federal narcotics brokers, together with the FBI, Oregon Condition Police and Tigard law enforcement, applied wiretaps, confidential sources and surveillance to determine and arrest Beltran Arredondo, Rodriguez Barrientos and accused drug runners in an investigation that commenced previous slide.

They also seized about 115,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills stamped “M30,” suspected to include fentanyl, together with about 41 pounds of methamphetamine and 57 lbs of heroin, in accordance to courtroom files.

The alleged leaders imported the medicine from Mexico into California for distribution in the course of the Pacific Northwest, prosecutors say.

Law enforcement arrested Beltran Arredondo and Rodriguez Barrientos in Las Vegas on Feb. 17. They designed their initially appearances in federal court in Portland past 7 days. Their attorneys entered not guilty pleas on their behalf.

Federal agents seized a 2021 Land Rover Variety Rover Activity and a 2013 Dodge Viper from the property and receipts from the property revealing $4,360 in funds purchases at the Gucci store in Pioneer Spot Shopping mall in April, $9,850 in funds purchases from the downtown Nordstrom in Portland in fall 2019 and a credit rating card payment of $9,683 for tickets to a professional Canelo Alvarex boxing match, in accordance to courtroom information.

Assistant U.S. Legal professional Peter Sax claimed Beltran Arredondo and Rodriguez Barrientos lived extravagantly in a extravagant home with a luxury auto on the earnings of fentanyl products that have aided gas an opioid epidemic “so ruinous to so lots of users of our community.”

Counterfeit prescription pills are being made with fentanyl since its more potent and cheaper. In 2019, there were 280 unintended overdose fatalities in Oregon. In 2020, there have been 472. And in the very first 8 months of past calendar year, there ended up 473 accidental overdose fatalities, with quite a few of these deaths caused by counterfeit oxycodone products manufactured from fentanyl, in accordance to prosecutors and the Oregon Overall health Authority.

Through one particular intercepted wiretap conversation, an agent from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration picked up discuss about a fentanyl overdose and hospitalization of a Portland-region child less than 14, according to Sax. An investigation proceeds to determine if the supply of the child’s fentanyl poisoning was Beltran Arredondo’s alleged drug trafficking team, Sax wrote in a courtroom memo.

Rodriguez Barrientos, federal prosecutions contend, was the organization’s chief cash launderer.

She is accused of building dollars deposits ranging from $10,000 to $373,771 into bank accounts in her individual identify and in the title of the Mazatlán Natural beauty Salon, which dissolved in May well 2020, in accordance to the Oregon Secretary of State’s data. At times, she mentioned herself as “owner/operator” of the salon, even much more than a yr after it has been dissolved, in accordance to courtroom records.

Financial information exhibit, for illustration, that she deposited $70,100 into the Lender of America account of Mazatlán Beauty Salon on Jan. 11, 2021, and designed a second deposit that same working day of $31,620, in accordance to courtroom information.

On March 9, 2021, she deposited $282,471 into her individual Financial institution of The united states account, determining herself as a hair salon proprietor, in accordance to the documents.

In overall, she produced far more than $3.5 million in cash deposits into each accounts between Jan. 11 and Oct. 12, 2021, much exceeding the plausible reputable income circulation acquired by a single natural beauty salon in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance to IRS agent Scott McGeachy.

McGeachy mentioned that hard cash deposits in round, entire numbers also are not regular with legit earnings from these kinds of a business as a hair salon, in accordance to courtroom files.

Rodriguez Barrientos even more built income deposits to fund wire transfers to obtain eight various houses with no home loans between February and Oct 2021, information reveal. They bundled a $1.3 million 4-plex in Beaverton and a $691,618 dwelling in North Las Vegas, court docket data show. A ninth house was bought by a different alleged member of the drug-trafficking ring, according to prosecutors.

Law enforcement officers stopped couriers transporting medications to Oregon and executed lookup warrants on residences in Portland, Hillsboro, Tualatin, Wilsonville in Oregon and Fresno and Hawaiian Gardens in California, according to prosecutors.

The other defendants named are Conrado Beltran Quinones, Yvonne Michelle Beltran, Gregory Arthur Higgs, James Franklin Greason, Virginia Del Gastelum Montes, Javier Avila Sandoval, Eloy Gonzales Sr., Lizbeth Tanairis Arredondo Lopez, Isabel Reyna Lopez Ramirez and Zalin Requejo Lopez. Most ended up arrested in California and Oregon.

Most are accused of advertising the medication as element of the conspiracy.

Assistant Federal General public Defender C. Renee Manes entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Beltran Arredondo throughout his physical appearance prior to a justice of the peace judge in Portland on Tuesday. Manes did not contest his continued detention but reserved the appropriate for him to challenge it in the future.

At a detention hearing Thursday in U.S. District Courtroom in Portland, Rodriguez Barrientos’ courtroom-appointed lawyer Joanna T. Perini-Abbottargued for her shopper to be launched pending trial. She claimed Rodriguez Barrientos is a mother who came to the United States in 2010 on a visa when she was pregnant with her daughter, who is now 11.

Rodriguez Barrientos wished to assure a improved life for her daughter and would not flee now mainly because her daughter is a U.S. citizen and the authorities has taken regulate of all the home she owned and frozen her belongings, her attorney reported.

Rodriguez Barrientos lived in the Portland location, where by she waited tables and then bought her very own hair salon, Perini-Abbott claimed.

In 2015, she achieved Beltran Arredondo and considered he owned a auto dealership and purchased and traded autos, the attorney said.

Rodriguez Barrientos moved with him to Las Vegas at the close of final 12 months “to escape the Portland rain,” her attorneys claimed.

Rodriguez Barrientos deposited income that her longtime boyfriend gave her in her personal accounts in her title, Perini-Abbott stated. She viewed as Beltran Arredondo her husband or wife, however they have been not legally married, the law firm explained.

Rodriguez Barrientos isn’t charged in the drug conspiracy, her lawyer pointed out.

But Sax argued for her continued detention, saying, “Her money laundering is what enabled the drug trafficking corporation to carry on with its distribution.”

U.S. Justice of the peace Judge Youlee Yim You requested Rodriguez Barrientos to stay in custody pending trial.

“This is no small circumstance,” You explained, noting Rodriguez Barrientos’ alleged involvement in hundreds of thousands of bucks of transactions.

When her alleged offense is money laundering, “it does have to do with drug trafficking,” the choose said, “and I really do not believe that can be disregarded.”

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