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Police break arrest 10 suspects in cocaine bust

Police from across the state swept into Jackson County early Thursday to put the clamps on a cocaine-trafficking ring that has operated in the area for several years.

In all, 10 people were arrested on various felony charges ranging from drug possession to probation violations, Medford police Deputy Chief Tim Doney said.

More than 100 state and federal officers poured into homes in Medford, White City and Eagle Point looking for evidence tied to cocaine and methamphetamine distribution.

"We believe this is one organization and the primary drug of choice was cocaine," Doney said.

The investigation began in fall 2009, soon after the end of another large drug sweep called "Operation Goat Rope" that used informants and federal wiretaps to break up a large heroin-trafficking organization centered in Medford between 2007 and 2009.

In Medford, homes on Table Rock Road, Midway Road, Cummings Lane, Pioneer Road, Alameda Street, Inner Circle and South Peach Street were targeted.

In addition, homes on Brownsboro-Meridian Road in Eagle Point, Fern Valley Road in Phoenix and Sonny Lane in White City were searched.

The searches turned up multiple firearms, an undisclosed amount of cocaine and methamphetamine, and drug proceeds, Doney said.

Jamie Rector, 41; Asther Rodriguez, 46; Robert Baldwin, 49; Richard William, 37; and Enrique Gallegos, 28, were arrested on charges of manufacturing, possession and delivery of cocaine.

Baldwin, who was arrested during Goat Rope, also was charged with tampering with physical evidence.

Gallegos also was charged with manufacturing, possession and delivery of methamphetamine.

Susana Eastman, 23, was charged with delivery and possession of cocaine. Nancy Villegas, 25, was charged with possession of cocaine and possession of methamphetamine. Arcenio Sainz, 22, was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of methamphetamine and second-degree possession of a forged instrument.

Adelma Cook, 33, and Esteban Martinez-Manjares, 26, were arrested on probation violations.

Doney did not comment on the strategies police used against the organization.

"These organizations are hard to crack and infiltrate," he said.

Some of the searched homes were distribution points, but most were where the suspects lived.

"A few sold from their homes, while others went elsewhere to do business," Doney said.

Doney did say cocaine is increasingly popular in the Rogue Valley and this organization was cashing in on this trend.

More arrests are expected in the near future, Doney said.

"We are not done with this," Doney said. "We have detectives working this case right now."

The Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team was assisted by municipal police agencies from across the valley, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration, Jackson County Community Justice, Oregon State Police and the U.S. Marshal's Service.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.