The Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team made two arrests Sunday in a months-long, ongoing investigation of drug trafficking from Southern California to Douglas County, according to a police affidavit released Tuesday morning.
At approximately 1:30 p.m. Sunday, DINT detectives and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies identified a 2020 Nissan Altima and stopped the car on Interstate 5 northbound at milepost 85, near Glendale.
According to court documents, detectives, deputies and Roseburg Police Department K-9 Trapper discovered nearly 50 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin believed to be destined for Douglas County as well as neighboring counties.
Authorities reported seizing 46.5 pounds of meth, 1.4 pounds of heroin and multiple firearms.
All three occupants of the vehicle had addresses from the greater Los Angeles area, including Jack Lewis, 44, of Van Nuys, California, and Michael Panoosi, 54, whose address was listed as the San Fernando Valley, according to the Douglas County Jail’s website.
Detectives had been investigating Panoosi, who they believed would be transporting a large amount of meth and heroin into the county. Detectives had noticed the vehicle, which had arrived that morning from Southern California, and had seen Panoosi in the vehicle on multiple occasions.
Trapper alerted on the vehicle near the front passenger side headlight, and investigators began executing a signed search warrant on the vehicle. Detectives discovered a broken meth pipe and meth residue in the back seat, where Panoosi was a passenger. While inspecting the vehicle’s trunk, a backpack containing firearms and another backpack containing meth were seized.
Under the hood of the vehicle near the passenger headlight, detectives discovered 20 balloons of heroin totaling 580 grams.
Panoosi denied any knowledge of the evidence seized, claiming he was just catching a ride to Junction City.
Both men were charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine, unlawful delivery of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of heroin and unlawful distribution of heroin.
Lewis was also charged with three counts of a felon in possession of a firearm and, after his Monday arraignment in Douglas County Circuit Court, was being held on $2 million bail.
Panoosi, who also faced a felony firearm possession charge, reportedly posted bail before appearing in court.
The third occupant of the vehicle, 44-year-old Michael Housel (address unknown), was cited and released on possession and delivery of methamphetamine.
DINT specified the investigation was ongoing and more arrests are expected.