U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore.—An eastern Oregon drug dealer identified by law enforcement as part of an investigation into a fatal overdose on the Umatilla Indian Reservation was sentenced to federal prison today, announced the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

Ulises Echevarria-Molina, 40, of Pendleton, Oregon, was sentenced to 75 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, on May 15, 2021, officers from the Umatilla Tribal Police Department responded to a suspected fatal drug overdose at the Wildhorse Casino in Pendleton and located several counterfeit Oxycodone pills believed to contain fentanyl near the deceased victim. Toxicology reports later confirmed the victim had consumed fentanyl and cocaine prior to their death. 

Further investigation revealed that the overdose victim likely obtained the fentanyl pills from a family member’s supply and the family member had recently purchased fentanyl from a local dealer. Investigators soon identified Echevarria-Molina as a third-level drug distributor to the deceased victim’s family member and, on May 18, 2021, arrested him without incident.

At the time of his arrest Echevarria-Molina possessed approximately 1,500 fentanyl pills and $9,000 in cash on his person. A search of Echevarria-Molina’s Pendleton home returned approximately 24 pounds of methamphetamine, two pounds of cocaine, and 1,500 additional fentanyl pills. Investigators also located and seized $18,000 in cash, digital scales, and various drug packaging materials from Echevarria-Molina’s residence.

On May 21, 2021, Echevarria-Molina was charged by criminal complaint with distribution or possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Later, on May 19, 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a four-count indictment charging Echevarria-Molina with possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Because of the combination of controlled substances in the toxicology results, Echevarria-Molina was not charged with the overdose death.

On September 5, 2023, Echevarria-Molina pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine.

This case was investigated by the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team (BENT), FBI and the Umatilla Tribal Police Department. It was prosecuted Cassady Adams, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

BENT is a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force that includes detectives from the Pendleton Police Department, Hermiston Police Department, Boardman Police Department, Oregon State Police, Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, Milton-Freewater Police Department, and Umatilla Tribal Police Department.