Rogue River Man Suspect in Heroin Bust

, Written by Roma Villavicencio, Posted: Thu, September 12 2013 at 10:27 PM, Updated: Thu, September 12 2013 at 11:22 PM

Police say 47-year-old Thomas Walter Anderson had three ounces of heroin, 17 guns, ten thousand dollars in cash, and body armor at his Rogue River home. 

A man police call a documented Nazi Low-Rider Prison gang member.

"A person that has this kind of armor and body armor which is even crazier and the sophistication," says Medford Police Chief Tim George.

Swat Team members and  the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement served a search warrant Wednesday morning at the home on River Road. 

"This was familiar territory."

 Chief  George says Anderson was arrested on similar charges back in January but made bail and Chief George claims he was not deterred but  kept selling drugs not just in Rogue River but throughout the area.

"This is a person selling dope to people everyday."

Police also arrested Benjamin Andrew Chmelir at the home on charges of violating parole and theft. 

They say he was  living on a boat on Anderson's property.

"It's just about the safety of the community when you do this type of work."

Anderson is now facing dozens of charges including possession and distribution of heroin and 17 counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Chief George says heroin continues to be a major problem in Southern Oregon with people overdosing in Medford alone on a weekly basis. 

According to Oregon State Police heroin is the number one killer when it comes to drugs. In 2012 it took 147 lives a three percent increase from 2011. 

Just last year two young men in Ashland died within weeks of each other. Both of suspected drug overdoses most likely mixed with heroin.

Chief George says that's why getting suspected drug dealers like Thomas Anderson off the streets is so crucial.

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About the Author

Roma Villavicencio

NBC5 News reporter Roma Villavicencio comes from Southern California where she reported for Garden Grove TV Channel 3.

She is a graduate of the journalism/communications program at Cal State Fullerton.

Roma is very proud of her Mexican heritage. She is bi-lingual and looks forward to serving our Hispanic community.

She loves food, music and the San Francisco Giants. She lives by the slogan “viva la vida!”

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