Detective dives into South Umpqua River to retrieve tossed drugs

Detectives with the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team arrested a California man on Tuesday after he allegedly tried to dispose of more than a pound of meth during a traffic stop.

Posted: Apr 7, 2021 12:09 PM

MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. — A Douglas County detective dove into the South Umpqua River to retrieve a bag full of methamphetamine during an attempted drug bust on Tuesday, according to the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team (DINT).

DINT detectives were following 60-year-old Robert Paul Muniain of Oakdale, California as part of an ongoing drug investigation, the team reported. Working with deputies from the Sheriff's Office, detectives tried to pull Muniain over on I-5 northbound near Myrtle Creek.

"Muniain slowed, but refused to stop initially, exiting the freeway in Myrtle Creek," DINT said in a statement. "Muniain continued, traveling into the city of Myrtle Creek and as he was crossing the bridge over the South Umpqua River he threw a bag out of the vehicle window into the river below."

After Muniain tossed the bag, DINT said that he complied with officers and pulled over. Meanwhile, one of the DINT detectives scrambled down the river bank after the bag — spotting it floating downstream. The detective dove into the water and swam out to the bag, grabbing it while it was still floating at the surface. He was able to take the bag up to the opposite side of the river.

According to DINT, the bag contained roughly 472 grams of methamphetamine, more than a pound.

"That is a very large amount of methamphetamine which is not a personal use amount," the law enforcement team said. "For context, the typical addict would use only approximately one gram per day, on average."

The detective emerged from his ordeal wet and cold, but otherwise unharmed. Muniain was taken into custody and booked into the Douglas County Jail on charges for Unlawful Possession and Unlawful Delivery of Methamphetamine. DINT said that the investigation is ongoing and more charges are pending.

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