Drug bust near Ashland

A routine traffic stop on Interstate 5 turned into a drug bust just after 8 a.m. this morning.

An Oregon State Trooper stopped two men headed northbound near mile marker 11 and noticed the passenger attempting to stuff at least two bags of what was believed to be methamphetamine or cocaine down his pants, according to police. He later attempted to swallow the substance, but the trooper intervened.

"We think the officer saved his life," said Lt. Brian Powers with the Oregon State Police.

Both the passenger and driver, approximately 35 to 40 years old, were arrested for manufacturing, possession and delivery of controlled substances, Powers said. The suspects had not been positively identified at the time of the arrest.

The passenger was transported to Ashland Community Hospital en route to the Jackson County Jail to be sure no drugs were swallowed.

Five state troopers and one Ashland police officer reported to the scene, because drug stops are considered to be some of the most dangerous, often involving weapons, he said.

"These guys have got vested interests to fight to the death," Powers said. 'They're fighting to keep their possessions."

After the men were escorted from the scene, police continued searching the Chevy Impala the suspects were driving. No weapons were discovered during the initial search.

The I-5 corridor is a common trafficking route for meth, cocaine and other drugs, as well as large sums of money, stolen property or weapons. Troopers are trained to look for anything that could be construed as criminal activity, Powers said.

During a routine traffic stop a few months ago, a trooper discovered about $10,000 in Abercrombie and Fitch clothing stolen from Eugene, headed for California, he said.

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