2.5 pounds of meth snagged by East Portland’s ‘tweeker-busting’ cops

See how the eagle-eyed sleuths at East Portland’s Crime Reduction Unit nabbed two suspects who were holding thousands of “hits” of “crystal meth” ‚Ķ

Officer Anthony Passadore, one of the two original CRU members, shows us the POUNDS of methamphetamine, cocaine, and cash cops found being smuggled inside a car, at a SE Portland bust.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One of the most common “complaints” about Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct Crime Reduction Unit (CRU), Commander Michael Crebs says, is these officers are so friendly, criminals find they can’t help but talk and reveal information about their nefarious activities.

Since the CRU crew was formed in 2005, they’ve only gotten better at taking down those trafficking in large quantities of dope.

I met up with Officer Anthony Passadore, one of the two original CRU members, for a “show-and-tell” about their latest arrest.

“On January 29, at 8:13 p.m.,” Passadore begins, “CRU officers conducted a traffic stop at SE Powell Blvd at 129th Ave. While talking to the occupants, officers received permission to conduct a search of the car.

“During the search, officers located a hidden compartment in the dashboard of the car.  The compartment contained two and a half pounds of methamphetamine, one pound of cocaine and just over $10,000 in cash.

These drugs and cash stash were concealed in a secret, dashboard compartment.

Because the drug is usually sold in gram quantities, this bust took thousands of doses of meth off the street, Passadore tells us. Because the drugs haven’t been tested, they didn’t know if it was pure or “cut” (diluted). “If it was pure meth, it would easily double the amount of meth that would to on the street.”

Caught in a flood of drugs
About every two months, Passadore continues, their unit seizes about this same quantity of illicit narcotics, but usually not in just one bust. This is the third largest seizure they’ve had since the unit started up in 2005, he says.

I reminisce with Passadore about how that the CRU unit started with the “Tired of Tweekers” campaign in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood area ‚Äì partly at the instance of then-chair Glenn Taylor.

One of the original “meth-busters”, Passadore slipped off his jacket to show he is wearing his “colors” ‚Äì the original anti-crime campaign’s T-Shirt.

Passadore smiles, and confides to me, “I’ve still got my ‘Tired of Tweekers’ T-shirt from back when we started the unit. In fact, David, in honor of that campaign, I’m wearing it today.” He slipped off his jacket and showed the garment to the assembled press.

“But remember,” Passadore says, “This isn’t about any single officer. This is a perfect example of how the CRU team comes together to produce significant results.”

Crime-fighting by observation
Often, people wonder how CRU cops make big drug busts like this; some accuse the officers of “profiling” people by age, race or any number of other categories.

“On the street,” Passadore explains, “we’re observing behaviors. We’re looking for potential indicators of criminal activity. When we spot enough indicators to suggest criminal activity is taking place, we take a closer look. Often, it starts with a conversation, or a traffic stop.”

He adds that CRU officers work together and share their knowledge and experience. This helps cops refine their techniques and become better observers.

“And, we also study current case law to make sure that the work we do in this office is solid, so the prosecutor has a solid case. We want to make sure people who bring this type of drugs into our community are stopped and punished in the criminal court system,” Passadore assures me.

Two in custody

(Left) Jose Juan Zavala Huitron and (Right) Pedro Cervantez Urbina are the ones said to have been caught with pounds of dope in this bust. (PPB booking photos)

33-year-old Jose Juan Zavala Huitron and his passenger, 26-year-old Pedro Cervantez Urbina were charged with charged with two counts of Distribution of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, and two counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree and booked into the Justice Center Jail.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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