Big rig crash in Oregon yields more than $1 million in drugs

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PORTLAND — Federal prosecutors say it looked at first like an unremarkable rollover crash involving a tractor-trailer rig Jan. 17 on U.S. Highway 97 in northcentral Oregon. That changed when tow truck company employees called Sherman County sheriff’s officers to say they’d found bundles of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine hidden in the pallets of bell peppers.

Sheriff’s officers tallied the haul at 190 pounds of meth, 11 pounds of heroin and 7.5 kilograms of cocaine.

The drugs are estimated to be worth more than $1 million. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says it’s believed to be Oregon’s largest drug seizure.

Driver Salvador Martinez Perez, 53, has been charged with four counts of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute the drugs. He pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court. Trial is set April 22.

­— U-B wire reports

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