2 men charged in oil patch drug bust; authorities say they found $300K of narcotics


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WILLISTON, North Dakota — Two men are each charged with eight drug-related felonies after authorities in North Dakota's oil patch said they found more than $300,000 worth of narcotics in their possession.

Pablo Lopez-Vallapando, 39, and Porifirio Ruiz, 42, were arrested Thursday after authorities said a confidential informant purchased meth, heroin, cocaine and marijuana from the men in a Williston hotel. Their bond is set at $2 million apiece and the men are being held at the Williams County jail.

Court documents do not list a hometown or lawyers for the two men, and officials would not comment on the case.

In court documents released this week, authorities said they raided the hotel room and found 11 ounces of methamphetamine, nine ounces of heroin, 7.5 ounces of cocaine, more than six pounds of marijuana and a 9 mm pistol.

Authorities said the drugs found in the search —excluding the pot — and purchased by the informant are worth $300,000 on the street.

The affidavit says authorities stopped the truck that Lopez-Vallapando and Ruiz were in after the controlled buy and arrested them. More drugs were found in the truck.

Federal and local law enforcement representatives have warned that western North Dakota's oil boom has introduced small towns to major crimes and even international drug cartels as criminals look to cash in on the prosperity and rapid population growth.

"More and more we're dealing with pounds instead of grams and ounces," Sgt. Det. David Peterson of the Williston Police Department said.

The Northwest Narcotics Task Force said those involved in the investigation and sting were the FBI, Watford City Police Department, McKenzie County Sheriff's Office and Williams County Sheriff's Office. In a statement, the task force said additional arrests were expected.

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