JCSO Case 22-7456
WHITE CITY, Ore. – Christmas evening, a routine Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) patrol in White City discovered a driver passed out behind the wheel with fentanyl on his lap. During the arrest and search warrant, JCSO seized 93 grams of multi-colored powdered fentanyl. Preliminary tests confirmed the presence of fentanyl in the powdered substances seized and samples were sent to a crime lab for further testing.
The suspect, Tomas William Contento, 42, of Medford, was arrested Sunday night and charged with felony counts of unlawful possession, delivery, and manufacture of a controlled substance. He was lodged in the Jackson County Jail and has since bailed out.
While conducting a routine patrol on Christmas around 9:50 p.m., a JCSO White City Community Action Team (CAT) deputy observed a suspicious vehicle parked at a business in the 13000 block of Antioch Road. The car arouse suspicion by being parked diagonally across multiple parking spaces with the engine running in front of the closed business. The White City deputy approached the vehicle and observed Contento asleep at the wheel. The deputy announced himself as being from the Sheriff’s Office and Contento did not wake up. The deputy observed what appeared to be more than a Measure 110 violation* amount of narcotics in plain sight on Contento’s lap and called for backup.
Due to Contento’s potential for being under the influence and his flight risk by being in possession of a felony amount of narcotics, the deputy placed a spike strip in front of his tire and waited for backup. Additional deputies arrived minutes later, woke up Contento, and took him into custody without incident. At the scene, deputies seized 88 grams of multi-colored powdered fentanyl in multiple baggies, along with $1027 cash. A search warrant was obtained for the vehicle which uncovered five additional grams of fentanyl and a digital scale. Contento did not require medical attention. Jackson County Animal Control took possession of Contento’s dogs. The case is under further investigation and will be prosecuted by the Jackson County District Attorney’s office.
As fentanyl overdose deaths continue to climb across Jackson County, this arrest and seizure has potentially saved lives. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal depending on a person’s body size, tolerance, and past usage.
* Under Measure 110 Oregon voters approved a reduction of penalties for drug possession. For fentanyl, anything less than five grams is considered a Class E violation punishable by a $100 fine. Based on DEA data, five grams of fentanyl is enough to kill up to 2,500 people. Possessing an amount between five to 10 grams was reduced from a Class B felony to a Class A misdemeanor. As in this White City arrest, having more than 10 grams is a Class B felony.