Drug bust breaks up meth ring


One Prineville resident, Teddy Hull, was arrested along with 13 other suspects

Nearly two weeks ago, the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team conducted a major drug bust that led to 14 arrests including a Prineville resident.

On Thursday, Oct. 3, at about 6 a.m., CODE enlisted the help of an estimated 100 officers from 19 federal, state, and tri-county area agencies, including the Crook County Sheriff’s Office and Prineville Police Department, to execute eight search warrants throughout Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties.

“This was the single largest one-day operation that CODE has ever undertaken,” said Lieutenant Ken Mannix. “It takes a considerable amount of resources to do eight search warrants in one day simultaneously.”

The searches led to seizure of methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, scales, packaging material, cash, 17 firearms, a stolen cargo trailer, a quad, and a vehicle engine.

Among those arrested were 51-year-old Crook County resident Teddy Hull as well as 11 Bend residents, one from Tumalo, and another from Madras.

CODE reported that the investigation began in 2012 when detectives identified a large-scale drug trafficking organization operating in the Central Oregon region for several years.

During the investigation, detectives identified the leadership of the organization as well as middle managers who were tasked with carrying out the trafficking and manufacturing of large amounts of methamphetamine.

“Their (CODE’s) mission is to investigate the larger operations,” said Crook County Undersheriff John Gautney, who used to oversee CODE. “It is the drug trafficking organizations that they are tasked to dismantle and disrupt. They are not going after the street user or those dealing in low quantities.”

Mannix noted that this was not the largest drug bust in Central Oregon in terms of drugs seized, but by the same token, they took down an operation that was producing and distributing multiple pounds of narcotics on a regular basis.

What the arrests means for Crook County remains uncertain. Mannix said that this particular operation is now stopped for quite some time — perhaps permanently. However, Gautney feels it is difficult to tell how big of a dent that will make in the community since other drug manufacturers and traffickers may still be in operation.

Prineville Police Captain Michael Boyd reached a similar conclusion, but he still feels that the CODE operation will help slow the local drug problem for now.

“Every time we target a supplier, it does make our community a little better – at least for the short term.”