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The INVESTIGATION of PEPE CHAVEZ et al

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How Presidential Task Force #NW-OR-001 Challenged Conventional Drug Investigation Methods

a police memoir by RAY TERCEK


In the early 1980s, drug investigations in the Portland Police Bureau followed traditional buy-bust methods of catching and arresting drug dealers. It worked to get dealers off the streets for short stints, but did little to slow down the traffickers who were bringing more and more drugs into the Northwest.
At the same time, Jose Carlos “Pepe” Chavez-Vernaza, a native of Peru, was riding high as one of the Portland area’s biggest suppliers of cocaine. He imported high-quality product from sources in South America and sold it to associates who would cut it 40-60 percent with various substances and then sell to street dealers. Everyone made a hefty profit, and Chavez made no secret of his success… [Chavez] was able to flaunt his wealth while staying one step ahead of the law.
…With the help of local, county, state and federal law enforcement, Tercek began the first long-term drug trafficking investigation in the Portland bureau’s history…. [Tercek’s] “memoir” of the Chavez case is jam-packed with information about the law enforcement teams, the drug dealers and Chavez himself…. Extensive interviews with Chavez’s network yield an inside look at the day-to-day realities of the drug trafficking world, and Tercek’s casual style makes the book quite accessible…. All in all, it was a book that I couldn’t put down, and I was rooting for Tercek and his crew the whole way.
(Renee Struthers-Hogge, the East Oregonian, 09/18/11.)

[Of note to NHRA drag racing fans, this cocaine smuggling enterprise used the NHRA pro circuit as a primary distribution system. If you are interested in historical moments in drag racing and police drug investigation, you will find my two-book series a “have-to-have” DEAL.]

Ray Tercek 


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The INVESTIGATION of PEPE CHAVEZ et al

When Police and Politics Collide

a police memoir by RAY TERCEK


“When Police and Politics Collide” is the second of a two-book series… a massive drug trafficking investigation that led to political conflicts within the Police Bureau itself and eventually with top Portland officials – Mayor Bud Clark and, specifically, Portland Chief of Police Penny Harrington whose husband Gary Harrington was suspected of tipping off a target of the cocaine trafficking probe.

   …“When Police and Politics Collide” continues the story of the next phase of the intricate task force work targeting additional members of the criminal drug distribution network…. Significant progress is stalled by numerous political and bureaucratic hurdles. In particular, a well-known Portland restaurant owner, Bobby Lee, becomes a focus for interrogation, but he reveals to task force members that he had been forewarned by police officer Gary Harrington.
…Penny Harrington was the first female police chief appointed to head the police force of a major city…this book’s narrative offers unique insight into her rise and eventual fall from grace. Many other significant Portland political players are also profiled in the book – among them eventual Police Chief and Mayor Tom Potter and former Mayor Bud Clark who appointed Penny Harrington as police chief. Followers of Portland history will find this book’s revelations indispensible…. I would encourage you not to miss the “rest of the story” in “When Police and Politics Collide.” The writing is stronger and the story’s narrative thread is even more compelling.

(Review by Sandy Palmer, The Mountain Times,04/01/2012.)


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