An early-morning raid today ended in multiple arrests for heroin and methamphetamine sales at the Cedar Lodge Inn, Medford police said.
Medford Drug and Gang Enforcement officers arrived at the motel on Riverside Avenue at 7 a.m. after an investigation led them to believe two Oakland men had set up shop there to sell heroin, MADGE Lt. Brett Johnson said.
"Word is out that there's a market for heroin in Medford," Johnson said. "Lately we've seen the heroin move here from California. It was coming from Portland before, but that's changed."
MADGE has been investigating the group working at the Cedar Lodge Inn for two months. When officers arrived this morning, they found just over three ounces of heroin, packaging, scales, drug records and a .45 Glock handgun.
Arrested were Keith Levon Rogers, 46, and Paul Madison Byers, 47, both of Oakland. They were lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of delivery, possession and manufacture of heroin. In addition, Byers was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Both remained lodged late Wednesday on $55,000 bail.
The pair have multiple arrests and convictions in California and have both spent time in prison, Johnson added.
While MADGE was serving the warrant, investigators contacted the occupants in another room in which drug sales were suspected.
When they were let into that room, a man was seen jumping out a back window. Officers chased him down and found that he had a warrant for his arrest on a past heroin charge.
He was identified as 22-year-old Chad Quinton Castella, 22, a Medford-area transient. MADGE found that he had heroin in his possession. He was not linked to the Oakland suspects, Johnson said.
The excitement didn't end there. As MADGE was dealing with Castella, a car pulled into the Cedar Lodge Inn parking lot that caught the manager's attention.
He told officers that the owner of the car was not allowed on the property, and an officer recognized the driver as someone who had a suspended license. Police stopped the vehicle and searched it.
They found a container of chocolate chip cookies with a false bottom. When the bottom was detached several baggies filled with methamphetamine fell out, Johnson reported.
The driver was identified as David Jonathan Smith, 30, who was charged with possession, manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine. He was lodged in jail on more than $1 million bail.
Meth residue was found on a pipe inside the car. The pipe reportedly belonged to his passenger, identified as Kalia Diane Ruthstrom, 26. She was charged with possession of methamphetamine and a parole violation. She was lodged without bail.
On Tuesday, a man accused of robbing the Chase Bank branch on Crater Lake Avenue was tracked back to the motel. Last week, a Cedar Lodge Inn employee was stabbed as he attempted to escort two people off the premises.
— Chris Conrad
Read more in Thursday's Mail Tribune.