Fourteen people were arrested and 1,400 pounds of pot were seized in Lebanon in connection to two large scale marijuana grows last week.
The Linn Interagency Narcotics Enforcement team searched two neighboring properties at 39030 and 39038 Griggs Drive on Aug. 27 at 5:00 p.m. The LINE team seized 1,400 pounds of processed marijuana, 9,116 marijuana plants, 12 firearms and over $6,000. Sixty-one large greenhouse structures were destroyed on site.
Albany Police Department Lt. Juston Alexander said that illegal outdoor marijuana grows are much more of a significant problem in Southern Oregon, but over the past few years they’ve been migrating north.
“This is the biggest outdoor grow we’ve dealt with in recent history on private property,” Alexander said.
The LINE team became aware of the grows thanks to concerned citizens, according to a news release. APD, Drug Enforcement Administration, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Lebanon Police Department and Linn County Sheriff’s Office assisted LINE in the searches.
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Among those arrested was Franklin Lester Roles, age 55, for unlawful manufacture of marijuana, felon in possession of a firearm and criminal conspiracy. Lisa Dee Medina-Brown, age 60, was arrested for unlawful manufacture of marijuana and criminal conspiracy.
The twelve other arrests were Leonel Sanchez Sarmiento, Angel Zuniga Jose, Luis Miguel Trujillo Jose, Sostenes Cruz Clara, Alberto Sarmiento Garcia, Angel Jose Jose, Cornelio Duarte Duarte, Jose Valdovinos Godinez, Marco Valdovinos Godinez, Luis Silva-Solorio, Simon Eduardo Vargas Pena and Javier Orozco Arroyo. Their ages range from 24 to 37, and they were arrested for unlawful manufacture of marijuana, unlawful delivery of marijuana, unlawful possession of marijuana and criminal conspiracy.
According to the press release from APD, spring and summer are the optimal seasons to grow marijuana in Oregon. Rural property owners are sometimes approached by individuals asking to rent or lease their land for what are presented as legal hemp grows. Cash is sometimes offered up front and at harvest.
APD urges property owners to question the legitimacy of such offers if approached, and to call the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission or your local law enforcement agency with questions.
Joanna Mann covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6076 or Joanna.Mann@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_.