CODE Makes Million Dollar Meth Bust In Madras

Two Suitcases On Bus Stuffed With Marijuana, Meth; WA Man Arrested

POSTED: 5:23 AM PDT September 23, 2011    UPDATED: 2:31 AM PDT September 24, 2011 
MADRAS, Ore. -

In one of the biggest methamphetamine busts in Oregon history, $1 million worth of drugs were taken off the streets.

Police won't say why an Estrella Blanca bus, heading from California to Portland, was a target to search during its stop at the McDonald's in Madras Wednesday night.

But whatever their hunch was, it was spot on.

Police seized two suitcases stuffed with drugs from the bus's luggage compartment.

"This is the largest seizure of narcotics in the history of the CODE team since its inception nearly 20 years ago in 1991," said Lt. Ken Mannix, lead detective for the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team.

Thirteen pounds of marijuana was stashed in one suitcase, while 35 pounds of methamphetamine was in another suitcase; packaged and ready to sell on the streets.

Police arrested Juan Luis Rangel Cancino of Federal Way, Wash., for meth possession and delivery. But investigators suspect the 20-year-old wasn't acting alone.

"Any time you're dealing with such a significant amount of dope, clearly there's a drug trafficking organization behind it," Mannix said Friday.

Police haven't figured out who's behind the other piece of luggage filled with dope. But they're confident the bus driver and everyone else on board didn't know they were traveling with more than $1 million worth of drugs.

Cancino might be the only one who knows where the narcotics' next stop was, but detectives could take a few guesses.

"To the streets, to the schools, to your neighbor, to my community, to our kids -- everybody," said Mannix. "That's the unfortunate reality of it."

"That's again why we take such pride in making a seizure of this magnitude, and make an arrest along with it," he added.

Another frightening and ugly truth of the drug trafficking underworld; Police took a large amount of drugs with a high street value, and somebody is going to want them back.

"There's inherent dangers of the job, and we understand that. We know that, we recognize that, we train for that, we have equipment for that, we plan for that, and certainly we hope for the best," said Mannix.

Cancino is being held at the Deschutes County Jail on $250,000 bail -- but without bail on a hold for federal immigration agents as a suspected illegal immigrant.

NewsChannel 21 spoke with a manager of the Estrella Blanca bus line, who told us the driver of the bus police searched is on vacation. But, when we asked what the driver's name was, the manager told us he didn't remember.