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MADGE seizes a 30 pounds of meth in separate arrests

The Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team made three arrests over three days this week, seizing 30 pounds of methamphetamine allegedly tied to California drug trafficking investigations, according to a Medford police news release.

The first two arrests took place at 1:14 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, according to a probable cause affidavit. Detectives identified a 2015 Nissan Rogue believed to be involved in a drug trafficking operation, the release said.

The vehicle, registered in California, had pulled into the Ashland Chevron gas station, 2500 Highway 66. Police identified the occupants as Christian Olivarria-Aguirre, 36, and Jacqueline Castillo-Gutierrez, 35. Both have addresses in Compton, California, court records showed.

A police K-9 named Max "alerted for the presence of odors of controlled substances" outside the vehicle, and police asked to search the SUV, which Olivarria-Aguirre and Castillo-Gutierrez consented to, the affidavit said.

Police found "10 packages of crystal substance ... weighing over 20 pounds," the affidavit said. Police tested the substances, which were positive for methamphetamine.

"Jacqueline admitted knowing that Christian was meeting with people and delivering a bag of unknown contents to a person in Ashland," the affidavit said.

Police arrested Olivarria-Aguirre and Castillo-Gutierrez and lodged them in the Jackson County Jail. On Wednesday, they remained lodged on charges of delivery of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine, records showed. Their bails were set at $500,000.

Police made the third arrest at 2:29 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, on Interstate 5 near milepost 12, about 2 miles from the gas station where Olivarria-Aguirre andCastillo-Gutierrez were arrested, according to a probable cause affidavit.

“That’s the direction drugs are coming from, and the detectives are aware that they’re coming from that direction,” said Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau. “So they’ll spend a lot of time on the south end of town, watching cars, watching for the one they might have intel on.”

Police had received a tip that Ernesto Vela, 59, was transporting a "large amount" of methamphetamine to Southern Oregon. Police pulled him over after spotting him driving northbound in a 2020 GMC SUV. Vela consented to a vehicle search, police said.

"Ten pounds of methamphetamine was located in the rear bumper," the affidavit said.

Vela was lodged in the Jackson County Jail, where he remained Wednesday on delivery and possession of methamphetamine charges. His bail was set at $507,500, jail records showed.

Castillo-Gutierrez and Olivarria-Aguirre were arraigned in Jackson County Circuit Court Tuesday, Feb. 18, court records showed. Their next court appearance was scheduled for Monday, Feb. 24.

Vela was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday, Feb. 19.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

Ernesto Vela
Christian Olivarria-Aguirre