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Drug seizures in 2024 on pace to surpass record high 2023 year


Earlier this year, Multnomah County declared the fentanyl crisis an emergent risk to public health, safety, and the continuity of essential services to the community. The detrimental impacts of fentanyl are seen by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) in our daily work. Our Law Enforcement Division has been actively participating in the county’s 90-day emergency work group to provide perspective and align resources in combatting the spread of fentanyl in the county.

MCSO has a dedicated team that focuses on disrupting and dismantling large drug trafficking and criminal organizations in Multnomah County. The Dangerous Drugs Team (DDT) initiates investigations based on information received from a variety of sources, including patrol deputies, community members, confidential informants and other law enforcement agencies. This team is funded by High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program and is comprised of MCSO members and a FBI special agent, a Gresham Police officer, a Parole and Probation officer, and two Oregon National Guard analysts.

Deputies and detectives continue to see a steady flow of fentanyl into Multnomah County and Oregon. In the first four months of 2024, the Dangerous Drugs Team has seized: 

Drug Quantity Seized in Pounds Percent of Total Seizures
Cocaine 4.4 6%
Meth 3.6 3%
Heroin .75 2%
Fentanyl powder 27.7  89%
Fentanyl pills 26,248 pills N/A

Additionally, DDT has seized 59 firearms during their investigations. These recovered guns include “ghost guns,” which are guns without a serial number, stolen guns, and guns used in other crimes.

In 2023, MCSO had a record year of drug seizures, with 92 pounds of fentanyl taken off the streets, compared to just 4 pounds the previous year.

“The sheer volume of drugs DDT is removing from our community is astounding and highlights how widespread the crisis is,” said Sheriff Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell. “I appreciate DDT’s tenacity in facing this emergency head on.”

Public Safety Advisory:

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is now reporting that laboratory testing indicates 7 out of every 10 pills seized by the DEA contain a lethal dose of fentanyl.

MCSO wants to remind the public that one pill can kill. The DEA reports that it only takes 2 milligrams of fentanyl — about the weight of a few grains of salt — to cause a fatal overdose. Today, six out of ten DEA-tested pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. To learn more about the scope of the fentanyl crisis, visit the DEA’s Fentanyl Awareness page. Information about addiction services and recovery support in Multnomah County can be found here

Image description:

Seized firearms during a recent criminal investigation displayed on a table

Over a kilogram of cocaine seized during a recent criminal investigation in a storage box

Over 20 pounds of fentanyl powder stored in various bags seized during a recent criminal investigation.