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Oregon meth trafficker gets nine years in federal prison

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(The Center Square) – A man from Bend, Oregon, received a federal prison sentence last week for possessing 20 pounds of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

Isaac Kitashima, 48, got a nine-year federal prison sentence plus five years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Between August 2020 and June 2021, the man and his co-conspirators ran a multi-state drug trafficking operation. Kitashima’s associates helped him buy, ship, and transport methamphetamine between California, Oregon, and Hawaii.

Kitashima had a co-conspirator drive a shipment of methamphetamine from California to Oregon in August 2020, but an Oregon State Police trooper tried to stop the vehicle.

Although the driver initially yielded to the stop, he fled the scene quickly.

The trooper pursued the vehicle and eventually found it empty. When law enforcement searched the empty vehicle, it found nearly 20 pounds of methamphetamine, plus items identifying Kitashima.

From February to May 2021, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and United States Postal Service intercepted several packages of methamphetamine that Kitashima tried to distribute in Oregon and Hawaii, a release said.

A federal grand jury in Eugene, Oregon, indicted Kitashima on August 19, 2021. It charged him with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute.

Then, on September 2, 2021, the DEA and Maui Police Department conducted a search warrant on Kitashima’s Makawao, Hawaii, residence. It was the same place where law enforcement previously arrested him. Investigators found methamphetamine and firearms during their search.

The man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute on February 27, 2024.

The case comes as Oregon lawmakers recriminalized drug possession earlier this year because of the negative consequences of the 2020 voter-approved Measure 110 that decriminalized it.

Once Measure 110 became law, fentanyl-related drug overdose deaths more than doubled in Oregon.

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