|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Sweep yields arrests, drugs, guns

  • More than two dozen people have been arrested on 140 charges related to drug dealing, illegal sale and possession of weapons, prostitution, robbery, attempted murder and other crimes linked to a multifaceted criminal enterprise that has been operating in Southern Oregon since at least 2012.
    • email print
  • »  RELATED CONTENT
  • More than two dozen people have been arrested on 140 charges related to drug dealing, illegal sale and possession of weapons, prostitution, robbery, attempted murder and other crimes linked to a multifaceted criminal enterprise that has been operating in Southern Oregon since at least 2012.
    Some of the 26 people arrested in connection with the racket were apprehended past year, with others arrested within the last few weeks, Oregon Judicial Department records show.
    The arrests are a result of federal and local law enforcement agencies working together, said Sheriff Mike Winters.
    The year-old investigation, dubbed "Operation Rap It Up," began after 5-year-old Alysa Bobbitt was killed in a second-story Grants Pass apartment in June 2013 when Jon Meyer accidentally discharged a fully automatic weapon from his apartment below, Winters said.
    Meyer, who was later sentenced to more than six years in prison on a manslaughter charge, tried to use the weapon as a crutch to get up from the couch when it fired.
    During the investigation into the shooting death, police discovered Meyer was involved in the "straw" purchase of firearms. In layman's terms, Meyer was acting as a middle man to purchase guns from federally licensed dealers for the purpose of concealing the identity of the person who wanted and eventually received the gun.
    While investigating Meyer, police uncovered a ring of straw purchases and purchasers in Jackson and Josephine counties, with some of the firearms having turned up at California murder scenes, Winters said.
    Winters said the investigation snowballed from the Meyer case into one that includes about 40 people — 31 of whom have been indicted on federal or state charges. Most have Medford addresses; others come from Central Point, Ashland, Klamath Falls, California and Nevada.
    Winters said the investigation is nearing its conclusion, but still ongoing, "so we're fairly careful about what's going out."
    One man arrested, Dominique Agnimel, of Medford, faces 30 state charges, including attempted murder, and 23 federal charges, mostly for the illegal purchase, possession and transfer of firearms.
    According to a Jackson County Circuit Court indictment, Agnimel allegedly attempted to murder a man named "Marlon" on April 19 in Jackson County.
    Winters would not discuss the details related to alleged murder attempt.
    Although a majority of the federal charges brought against the suspects are related to firearm crimes, drug trafficking figures prominently in their state charges.
    "They're doing anything they can to generate cash to procure drugs," Winters said, adding that weapons-related crime was an anchor point for the group.
    "They were committing burglaries throughout southwest Oregon and taking the weapons and selling them for drugs or cash," Winters said.
    He said several of the suspects have gang ties, but would not name specific gangs.
    Through the investigation and subsequent arrests, authorities seized handguns, rifles and a variety of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy, oxycodone and marijuana, Winters said.
    Winters said he did not name the operation, but believes it refers to the "rapper-style" individuals connected to the criminal enterprise.
    He said the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Oregon State Police have teamed with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department to take on high-profile criminal activity.
    "I am going to build a machine that is going to come after these types of individuals that want to play hardball ... we just got to get serious about this stuff, because it's just getting silly," he said. "This isn't the only sweep that's going to be made with this task force. We're going after some pretty high profile stuff."
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
Reader Reaction
      • calendar