In what police are calling a startling coincidence, two men with no connection to each other were arrested in Jackson County last week on the same northbound bus, both allegedly hauling pounds of heroin and methamphetamine.
Medford Drug and Gang Enforcement officials said the men were not working with each other. They just happened to get on the same bus in California with bags full of drugs, MADGE Lt. Brett Johnson said.
"We have no reason to believe these two were working with each other because the packaging was totally different and so were the drugs," Johnson said. "It's clear their drugs did not come from the same batch."
MADGE received a tip from federal agents who said Vincente Gomez-Chavez had 4.5 pounds of heroin and 1 pound of meth with him on a bus.
MADGE stopped the bus on April 9 near Phoenix and found Gomez-Chavez's stash, which Johnson said was some of the purest heroin local officers have seen in some time.
"This looked like it was poured directly from the lab and into the bags," Johnson said. "It would be too pure for anyone to use."
Usually heroin is mixed with several other materials to expand its volume and therefore its value, Johnson said.
Johnson said the meth found in Gomez-Chavez's luggage was a potent type of crystal most likely brewed in a super lab in Mexico. Gomez-Chavez would not provide a hometown, but police said they believe he lives in California.
As MADGE was checking the luggage officers learned that another man on the bus also was believed to be moving a load of drugs through the area.
Officers approached Jaime Joel Ruiz-Perez, 27, of Salem, and said they found that he had several plastic containers filled with meth stored on the bus.
The meth was from a different batch than that found on Gomez-Chavez, though it, too, was high quality, Johnson said.
"He had them broken into 11 containers, which equaled about a pound each," Johnson said.
Between the two of them, police figure about $700,000 in drugs was on the bus.
"It just happened that they were two guys on the same bus line with a large amount of drugs," Johnson said. "Whoever was their supplier is not going to be happy to lose that amount of drugs."
Both men remain lodged in the Jackson County Jail without bail.
Throughout the year, MADGE periodically stops buses rolling up and down the interstate.
"In this case, we had separate tips and worked them at the same stop," Johnson said.
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email email@example.com.