Central OregonLa Pine mother, son arrested in raid on illegal marijuana grow along...

La Pine mother, son arrested in raid on illegal marijuana grow along Day Road

La Pine mother, son arrested in raid on illegal marijuana grow along Day Road
C.O. Drug Enforcement Team
Drug agents, detectives raided La Pine property, site of alleged illegal marijuana grow and processing operation
La Pine pot bust property CODE 1026-1
C.O. Drug Enforcement Team
Property on Day Road in La Pine was scene of raid Wednesday of alleged illegal marijuana grow

La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) – A La Pine mother and son were arrested by drug agents Wednesday in a raid on their property, where they’re accused of growing and processing illegal marijuana, then delivering it around the Northwest.

Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team said in a news release Thursday that the case began with community complaints and tips about the 67-year-old woman and her 26-year-old son operating a large-scale marijuana grow in a residential area.

The Deschutes County Illicit Marijuana Team sought the assistance of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) Team to further their investigation, Vander Kamp said.

As a result, detectives drug agents and intelligence analysts from both teams conducted physical and electronic surveillance, confirming the family built unpermitted structures and converted others into indoor marijuana grow facilities.

Around 10 a.m., CODE and DCIME detectives, assisted by the Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit, executed a search warrant at the property in the 52500 block of Day Road, Vander Kamp said.

They seized 160 pounds of processed marijuana flower, with an estimated street value on the black market of $160,000, as well as 474 marijuana plants in various stages of growth and two firearms.

The mother and son were arrested and booked into the county jail on charges of unlawful manufacturing, delivery and possession of marijuana.

The possession of small amounts of marijuana is legal for recreational use in Oregon, Vander Kamp said. However, large, unlicensed marijuana operations remain illegal. “These unregulated operations pose dangers to the public and the environment,” he said.

This commercial grow operation was located in a rural residential area of Deschutes County, the sergeant said. Most of the area’s residents depend on the ground or well water for their households and own agricultural ventures. In March, Gov. Kate Brown declared Deschutes County to be in extreme drought conditions and struggling with consistent groundwater sources. 

It is estimated that indoor marijuana cultivation uses between 2.5 and 3 gallons per day per plant. That equals about 1,500 gallons per day or 45,000 gallons of water per month at this grow site alone, the sergeant said. The US Department of Interior and the USGS estimate that an average person uses 3,000 gallons of water monthly, so a family of four would use 12,000 gallons for bathing, cooking, washing, recreation, and watering.

Investigators have recently found illegal marijuana grows diverted or stolen significant water from nearby homes, farms, or directly from pumps connected to underground sources in the arid Central Oregon High Desert.

“It appears that this grow site was exclusively using ground or well water,” Vander Kamp said. “Additionally, illegal marijuana farms often use pesticides and insecticides that threaten residential water supplies and endanger the end user.” 

The Deschutes County Illegal Marijuana Enforcement (DCIME) program is a partnership between the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, the Bend Police Department and the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office to address illegal marijuana activity in the county. 

CODE and DCIME assisted the Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff’s Street Crime Unit with investigating, eradicating, and dismantling this site. 

The post La Pine mother, son arrested in raid on illegal marijuana grow along Day Road appeared first on KTVZ.

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