Health, News, Washington County

Rash of deaths in Washington County ‘likely related to fentanyl use’

Thursday June 8 4:45 p.m. update: In a Thursday afternoon press release, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said that four Honduran nationals were arrested in Portland with the aid of federal and local law enforcement officers in connection with a rash of overdoses in Washington County.

According to the sheriff’s office, the Westside Interagency Narcotics (WIN) team was able to track the source of the narcotics that they believe killed a Washington County resident early Wednesday morning through a series of drug dealers, which led to a hotel room in Portland.

With the aid of HIDTA Interdiction Task Force (HIT), Portland Police Bureau (PPB), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a search warrant was served and four people arrested.

Manuel Velazquez-Estrjo, Jorge Rivera-Nunez, Dennis Palma-Hurbina, and Gretsel Ramos-Balladares, all from Honduras were identified in connection with the hotel room in question and taken into custody for federal drug crimes. 

During the investigation, authorities seized more than 6.25lbs of powder testing positive for fentanyl, 4.24lbs of multicolored (rainbow) pills testing positive for fentanyl, 310.5grams of methamphetamine, and $11,707.

Original story below:

Area law enforcement agencies are warning of a rash of drug overdoses that have killed four Washington County residents in recent days.

According to a Washington County Sheriff’s Office press release, three area law enforcement agencies have responded to 15 overdoses in the last five days.

Four people died.

The sheriff’s office said all of the overdoses were likely tied to fentanyl use.

“Users are warned that there may be a batch of fentanyl circulating the street that is particularly dangerous to use,” the sheriff’s office said.

Five overdoses and two of the fatalities were in unincorporated Washington County. The sheriff’s office did not say if those deaths and overdoses were in urban unincorporated or rural unincorporated Washington County.

Six overdoses and one fatality occurred in Beaverton, and one person died in Hillsboro.

The Westside Interagency Narcotics Team (WIN) and the Washington County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the deaths.

“Additional information will be released when appropriate,” the sheriff’s office said.

Washington County has an addiction services website with information on seeking treatment for narcotics addictions. Those seeking more information on this health issue can also call Washington County Behavioral Health at 503-846-4528.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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