News release from Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team (BENT)
PILOT ROCK – Over the last year the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team (BENT) has been working on a drug trafficking organization that has been operating in and about Umatilla and Morrow Counties. Recently BENT, with the assistance of the Pilot Rock Police Department, made a substantial arrest and subsequent seizure. Pilot Rock, Oregon is a small community that has continued to see an influx in criminal activity which is fueled by addiction and abuse of illegal drugs.
On March 14, 20023 at about 11:25 a.m., the Blue Mountain Narcotics Enforcement Team (BENT) executed a search warrant at the residence owned and controlled by Saturnino Flores and Audrey Anna Lammers. During the service of the search warrant, BENT Detectives located approximately 4.5 pounds of suspected crystal methamphetamine, 3000 suspected fentanyl pills, a large amount of US currency, scales, packaging material and other items associated with the distribution of illegal controlled substances. Also located within the residence with the previously mentioned drug evidence were three handguns. Both Flores and Lammers were lodged at the Umatilla County Jail on charges associated with the distribution of controlled substances and unlawful possession of firearms.
Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team was founded in 1983 by the Oregon State Police and the Pendleton Police Department. BENT for many years worked local impact cases by focusing on street level drug dealers operating in Umatilla and Morrow Counties. BENT was eventually joined by other agencies within Umatilla and Morrow Counties. BENT recognizes with staffing levels agencies have it can be difficult to fully participate in the BENT mission. BENT continues to investigate criminal cases and provide resources in all areas of Umatilla and Morrow Counties.
This case highlights BENT’s ongoing commitment of working toward creating safer communities we serve. BENT leadership is always working to balance our investigative time and energy making a local and regional impact on criminal activity. It is our goal at BENT to always take the case as far as we can in an effort to continue dismantling and/or disrupting organizations that are victimizing our communities.
The mission of BENT is to reduce drug use and related criminal activity within Umatilla County, Morrow County and its incorporated cities by identifying, disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations (DTO’s). More specifically, to reduce substance abuse, drug related crimes (including violent person crimes), local drug production and drug trafficking into and out of Oregon through Umatilla and Morrow Counties on public highways.
BENT, as well as their associated parent agencies, would like the communities we serve to know that just because the State of Oregon, through Ballot Measure 110 has decriminalized drugs and legislation has severely hampered the way we as law enforcement can enforce criminal law, BENT is firm in its resolve and mission. BENT will continue to work with all community partners, all agencies whether they participate with the BENT program or not with one goal, to hold offenders accountable that are operating in a structured manner to victimize our communities. Whether it be the distribution of drugs, stolen property, violent crimes such as robbery and homicide or the trafficking of young women for sex there is one common denominator and that is some element of drug trafficking.
This case highlights BENT’s ongoing commitment of working toward creating safer communities. BENT is staffed by two full-time supervisors (Pendleton Police Sergeant (1) and Oregon State Police Sergeant (1)), nine full-time narcotics detectives Oregon State Police Detectives (2), Pendleton Police Department Detective (1), Hermiston Police Department Detective (1), Milton-Freewater Police Department Detective (1), Morrow County Sheriff’s Office Detective (1), Umatilla Tribal Police Department Detective (vacant), Boardman Police Department Detective (1) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (1).
Photo via Blue Mountain Narcotics Enforcement Team (BENT)