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Ashland arrest nets backpack with $20,000 cash

A suspected drug dealer charged with laundering close to $40,000 in two cases now faces more charges accusing him of conspiring to deliver heroin in Southern Oregon after allegedly running from police at speeds in excess of 100 mph.

Andrew Lee Tunnell, 30, has been lodged in the Jackson County Jail since Friday on felony charges that include two counts of money laundering and conspiring to deliver heroin, along with a new charge of attempting to elude police.

The multi-agency Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement task force stopped Tunnell in Ashland, along with co-suspect Amanda Lee Tunnell, 27, in a 2004 Chevy Tahoe SUV near the corner of Tolman Creek Road and Siskiyou Boulevard just after 4 p.m. Friday. Police were acting on information that the Tunnells “were planning on transporting a large quantity of heroin from California to Oregon,” court documents allege.

Inside the SUV were “numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia” along with a backpack that contained about $20,000 in cash. The pair allegedly told police they “do not work” and the cash was money they’d saved.

“Amanda and Andrew both admitted the money came from drug sales, but (said) that they were no longer dealing heroin,” police said in court documents.

A search warrant yielded a Taurus 22 revolver and nine rounds of ammunition, according to police, along with user amounts of opiates, including several oxycodone pills and a bottle of methadone, documents allege.

It’s not clear whether or how Andrew and Amanda Tunnell are related.

In May, Andrew Tunnell was charged in Jackson County with money laundering and felon in possession of a firearm following a Dec. 11 Central Point police investigation in which police reportedly seized $22,360 in cash. Charges are still pending in the money laundering case.

On Tuesday afternoon, Tunnell made his first court appearance on a new felony count of attempt to elude police in a vehicle, alleging he fled police at high speeds in White City while driving a black Infiniti G37 just after 8:15 p.m. June 25.

Police reportedly witnessed the Infiniti circling the block near a known drug house in the 2600 block of Terrmont Street, according to court documents filed by Jackson County sheriff’s deputies.

Police attempted to follow the car at speeds “over 100 miles per hour,” the documents say. Police later found the car abandoned on Galls Creek Road.

Tunnell allegedly told police he fled because he had parole warrants.

Amanda Tunnell was booked in the jail Friday and released at 4:18 a.m. Saturday because of overcrowding, jail records show. She faces felony counts of conspiring to deliver heroin between Dec. 1 of last year through July 6, according to court documents.

Andrew Tunnell is being held without bail on a California fugitive warrant. Court records show that Tunnell has a 2015 burglary conviction out of Placer County, California.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Andrew lee Tunnell