Portland police bust peddlers of fake drugs

Discover how investigation of the 30th drug overdose death this year in Portland led police to a stash of drugs and weapons …

This case starts here, when a man comes to Adventist Medical Center with symptoms of a drug overdose.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It must have seemed like a good deal when 24-year-old Gino Miller and his cousin purchased what they believed to be OxyContin pills – a powerful synthetic Opioid analgesic.

But soon after popping a pill or two on August 16, Miller didn’t feel well, and went to outer East Portland’s hospital, Portland Adventist Medical Center.

“Miller died a few days later as a result of an overdose,” said Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

As required by law, PPB Drugs/Vice squad officers were notified of the overdose, starting them off on an investigation.

Officials say that these pills, seized in the case, are likely fake OxyContin, further contaminated with Fentanyl.

“DVD officers learned that the victim had taken a pill believed to be OxyContin, but the pill turned out to be a counterfeit OxyContin pill manufactured clandestinely, and which may have been laced with Fentanyl,” Simpson said.

Not waiting for the lab results to come in, detectives got on the case.

According to a probable-cause affidavit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Miller and his cousin together purchased a batch of the pills.

Officials accuse this man, 42-year-old Alfred Darrell Warren, of selling counterfeit OxyContin pills to the man who died of an overdose.

After Miller’s death, his cousin identified the dealer, to detectives, as 42-year-old Alfred Darrell Warren. Officers set up a drug deal with Warren at his home, where he reportedly confessed to selling pills to Miller.

“Over the next several days, DVD officers identified multiple layers of the distribution network for these counterfeit pills,” Simpson reported. “Based on the investigation, DVD officers believe that the pills were coming from China.”

On August 19, DVD officers served search warrants and arrested Warren, seizing several items of evidence.

During the raids, police find these guns, one of them reportedly stolen.

The same day, based on a confidential informant, police located 44-year-old Antonio Irving Benjamin, as he headed to a transaction involving similar pills, according to court papers, in the area of NE 122nd Avenue and Glisan Street.

Although Benjamin tried to flee, police cruisers blocked his escape and he was arrested.

Warren was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) on August 19 at 3:34 p.m. on charges of Delivery of Oxycodone and Possession of Oxycodone. He was released at 8:11 p.m., that evening, after posting $25,000 bail.

Facing numerous serious charges is 44-year-old Antonio Irving Benjamin.

Also on August 19, Benjamin was booked into MCDC at 6:58 p.m. on charges of Manufacturing and Delivery of a Counterfeit Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, Attempt to Elude by Vehicle, Possession of Oxycodone, and Delivery of Oxycodone.

After his arraignment the following day, Benjamin learned he’d face those additional charges. He remains in custody at Inverness Jail, this time in lieu of $1,000,000 bail.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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