A Green man, known as “Big Jessie” and suspected of leading a ring smuggling heroin and methamphetamine from California to Douglas County, has been sent to prison.
Jessie Antonio Benites, 45, is in the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville to serve a 26-month sentence for delivery of methamphetamine.
He pleaded no contest to the charge March 13 in Douglas County Circuit Court. Judge William Marshall also sentenced Benites to three years on probation.
As part of the plea agreement, possession of methamphetamine, possession of heroin and delivery of heroin charges were dismissed.
Roseburg police Lt. Patrick Moore, commander of the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team, said Friday that the case was unusual because Benites sold both heroin and methamphetamine.
Most mid-level dealers specialize in one drug or the other, Moore said.
Heroin is a depressant, while methamphetmaine is a stimulant.
“People who use or are addicted are more prone to use one or the other,” Moore said.
DINT arrested Benites on Nov. 13.
The investigation began when deputies heard about “Big Jessie,” a new drug dealer in town. Many hours of surveillance and interviews culminated in the arrest.
Benites had likely been in Green about a month before he was arrested, Moore said.
Police suspected Benites was smuggling large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine from the Stockton, Calif., area and using about six men in their 20s and 30s to sell the drugs throughout central Douglas County, Moore said.
Moore said the source of the drugs was likely connected to a serious organization.
“He was not simply a user. He was a significant dealer for a short period of time,” Moore said.
The drugs found were well packaged in tightly wound balls and appeared to come from a large source, Moore said.
“It looked like they had been packed and hidden for transport,” he said.
Benites had 3½ ounces of heroin and 2½ ounces of methamphetamine when he was arrested.
Some of the people who allegedly sold the drugs are now facing lower level drug offenses, Moore said.
• Reporter Betsy Swanback can be reached at 541-957-4208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.