OSP seizes 8,000 Oxycontin pills on I-5 near Ashland

ASHLAND — Oregon State Police troopers early Friday seized approximately 8,000 Oxycontin pills hidden inside a vehicle near Ashland.

A trooper stopped Charles Edwards, 52, for speeding at 6:20 a.m. Friday morning in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5.

During a subsequent search, troopers discovered more than 8,000 tablets of Oxycontin hidden inside Edwards' 2010 Chevrolet pickup, OSP Sgt. Steve Mitchell said.

"This is a large-scale drug bust," Mitchell said. "You don't see this many pills in a case often."

Mitchell said the Oxycontin has an estimated street value of $660,000. "We have seen Oxycontin pills go for up to $80 a pill," Mitchell said. "These synthetic narcotics are very valuable."

Edwards, who lives in Tacoma, Wash., was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of possession of synthetic drugs, manufacture of synthetic drugs and delivery of synthetic drugs. He remained lodged late Friday on $55,000 bail.

OSP troopers were assisted in the investigation by detectives from the OSP Drug Enforcement Section and members from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office. The investigation is continuing. Mitchell did not speculate where Edwards was heading with the drugs or where he had gotten such a haul of Oxycontin.

Oxycontin is an opiate-based narcotic used to treat moderate to severe pain, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration website. The DEA reports that approximately 5.8 million people a year are prescribed Oxycontin in the United States.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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