DEA, police make biggest meth bust in Oregon history

Crime

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A team of federal and local law enforcement officers took down the leader of a drug trafficking cell Sept. 15 in Eugene, leading to the largest methamphetamine bust in Oregon history, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon announced.

Martin Manzo-Negrete, 47, was arrested and is now facing federal drug charges, authorities said, after the joint operation revealed 384 pounds of meth, stolen guns and more than $76,000 in cash.

Authorities estimated that the meth held a street value of more than $1,000,000.

Officials said Manzo-Negrete, also known as Javier Cardenas-Manzo, has a long history of drug trafficking and previously served 14 years in prison. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Four of Manzo-Negrete’s associates were also arrested on federal drug charges. They are Gustavo Manzo-Mares, 45; Candice Barrett, 52; John Willis, 59; and Nathan Lee Daniels, 46. All are Eugene residents, authorities said.

Police are still searching for a fifth associate, 52-year-old Frank Buehler.

The joint operation was led by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and included the Springfield Police Department, Eugene Police Department and Linn Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team.

The federal attorney’s office said it started in October 2020 with agents investigating the Manzo-Mares cell trafficking large amounts of meth across state lines from California to Oregon, reselling the drugs in Lane County. It ultimately led to multiple warrants, arrests and the record-setting meth seizure.

Manzo-Negrete appeared in federal court Sept. 16 and is detained pending future court proceedings, authorities said.

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