Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem man facing federal charges after drug bust

December 17, 2021 at 3:13pm

Salem Harvest hits goal to get second truck

Salem Harvest's existing truck, Sunflower, carries a load of apples. (Courtesy/Salem Harvest)

Sunflower, a hardworking truck that's hauled thousands of pounds of local produce, will soon be getting some help.

Salem Harvest recently met their fundraising goal to purchase a second truck to help volunteers salvage produce from area farms that would otherwise go to waste.

After setting a $7,000 fundraising goal for the month of December, Executive Director Elise Bauman said donations were up to $8,334 as of Thursday.

The donations will trigger a $7,000 match from Salem residents Craig and Cherie Cline, allowing the harvest to buy a 4x4 truck. The intention is to have a smaller vehicle that can more easily move between rows in the field and allow the harvest to work on two farms simultaneously.

Bauman said donations rapidly increased following a Dec. 8 Salem Reporter article about the harvest's most recent season and their expansion plans, with about $1,200 donated the morning after publication.

She does not yet have a name picked out for the second vehicle and said it will depend in part on its color.

-Rachel Alexander

December 17, 2021 at 10:51am

Watch lights synchronized to music, donate to Center for Hope and Safety

Lights on holiday displays during the 26th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at Riverfront Park on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A house in west Salem is spreading winter cheer and helping gather needed items for the city's domestic violence shelter, the Center for Hope and Safety.

You can watch lights synchronized to music in west Salem nightly until Dec. 31 from 5-9 p.m. at the Rock 'n' Roll for Hope.

The event at 2225 Woodhill St. N.W. is also a donation drive for Center for Hope and Safety.

The nonprofit domestic violence shelter needs items like blankets, diapers, pajamas and gender neutral toys.

Tune your radio to 88.9 FM to hear the music. 

-Saphara Harrell

December 17, 2021 at 10:39am

Thousands of fake pills, 28 pounds of meth seized by Salem police

(Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem police seized 28 pounds of methamphetamine, thousands of fake oxycodone pills, guns and cash from a man they arrested Tuesday.

Rico Anthony Russell Rigutto, 25 of Salem, was arrested on a federal criminal complaint. A search of his residence on a federal warrant led officers to find about 25,000 fraudulent oxycodone pills, 28 pounds of methamphetamine, six pounds of heroin, 16 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and around $75,000 in cash, according to a Friday news release from Salem police.

Rigutto was charged Tuesday in U.S. District Court of Oregon with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a machine gun, and possession of a machine gun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, court documents showed.

Investigators determined the “street value” of the heroin, meth and pills is nearly $250,000, the news release said.

“The increased presence of these polydrug pills coincides with the cases of overdoses in our community,” said Lieutenant Ben Bales, who supervises the special investigations team, in the news release.

Police also say two of the confiscated guns were also modified to be fully automatic, which is illegal without a stamp from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

Rigutto was arrested through a partnership with Salem Police Department Criminal Investigations Section, the ATF and the Federal Bureau of Investigation all worked to arrest Rigutto. A Salem police Special Investigations Unit detective is assigned to the FBI Task Force as part of the partnership, the news release said.

The District of Oregon U.S. Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case due to the federal charges.

“We very much appreciate the partnership we have with our federal counterparts. The collaboration helps us combat serious criminal activity that affects Salem, and really, the entire valley,” Bales said.

READ MORE HERE: Police trace Salem drug case to supplier in Mexico

(Courtesy/Salem Police Department)

This story was updated after Salem police added six pounds of heroin to the list of items seized.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian