March 10, 2010
• Posted in

Operation Midway broke up a Mexico-based drug ring that operated in Oregon and Washington

Attorney General John Kroger today announced the sentencing of two drug kingpins to more than a decade in prison. The sentences conclude Operation Midway, a major drug investigation that stretched from Southern Washington to the Willamette Valley.

“The Oregon Department of Justice will aggressively prosecute sophisticated drug trafficking organizations in this state,” said Attorney General Kroger. “But an effective anti-drug strategy also must include a strong treatment program.”

Luis Ramirez-Velasco was sentenced today in Marion County Circuit Court to 6 years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. Ramirez-Velasco faces an additional 5 years on federal immigration charges for a total prison sentence of 11 years. Mario Velasco-Mares was also sentenced today. He received 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering. The third defendant, Rafael Velasco-Ramirez, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for racketeering last August.

Evidence showed that the Salem-based methamphetamine ring smuggled drugs from Mexico through California for distribution in Oregon and Washington. The Oregon Department of Justice broke up the ring after a 2-month wiretapping and high-tech surveillance investigation. The organization routinely dealt in multi-pound quantities.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Andrew Campbell prosecuted the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.

The Oregon Department of Justice last year won a $1.5 million federal grant to create a Drug Crimes Strike Force that will consist of two new prosecutors, two new investigators and a new analyst. The focus of the unit will be Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations, which dominate the methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin importation and distribution trade in Oregon.

The new Drug Crimes Strike Force will work with organized crime and gang investigators, local police and district attorneys. The team will initiate new cases, enhance investigations and pursue arrests and convictions. The Drug Crimes Strike Force will work with the Oregon High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area board, the Oregon Sheriffs’ Association, the Oregon Police Chiefs’ Association and the Oregon District Attorneys’ Association.

Aggressively fighting drug trafficking organizations is crucial to public safety, but it is also important to reduce demand by providing effective treatment.

Attorney General Kroger is the chairman of the Oregon Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission, which was created by the 2009 Legislature to overhaul the delivery of alcohol and drug treatment services in Oregon in order to improve public health and safety. The commission brings together state leaders, law enforcement and treatment providers in an unprecedented effort to reduce crime by developing a statewide plan to more effectively fund and deliver substance abuse treatment and prevention services across the state. Commission members include Dr. Bruce Goldberg, director of the Department of Human Services, Max Williams, director of the Department of Corrections and Superintendent of Education Susan Castillo.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department’s mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.


Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 |