JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. -- Law enforcement officials say over 250 pounds of marijuana were seized on Tuesday alone, after a month-long investigation into several people associated with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program.
Authorities say the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement Team (RADE) made three arrests on Tuesday, following a total of 26 people who were either arrested or have charges pending.
In all, officials say 930 pounds of marijuana bud, over 7,500 pounds of wet plants and user amounts of meth and heroin were all taken as evidence in the operation.
Here is the press release from the Oregon State Police:
Investigations conducted during the last 30 days by the interagency Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) team shows the team was inundated with a variety of cases, the majority involving marijuana. Due to the nature of the investigations and the cultural closeness of those involved in the unlawful manufacture and distribution of marijuana in Josephine County, RADE is now able to provide some information for these case investigations including the most recent investigation that led to three arrests Tuesday and the seizure of over 250 pounds of marijuana.
Oregon State Police (OSP) Sergeant Jim Johnson said RADE opened seventeen cases during this time for which 26 people were either arrested or have charges pending. Because a number of the cases are submitted to the Josephine County District Attorney's Office for potential charges toward additional suspects, not all of the mentioned cases list names of persons related to the investigations.
According to Johnson, the majority of the cases involved individuals associated with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) and focused on growing or possessing significantly more marijuana than allowed under the program. Additionally, several other cases investigated revealed growers illegally distributing marijuana to people other than OMMP patients for profit, locally and outside the State of Oregon. Wholesale marijuana prices in Josephine County commonly range from $1,200 to $1,500 per pound.
The most recent investigation led to a search warrant being served November 13, 2012 by RADE detectives and Oregon State Police (OSP) SWAT team on three Williams-area residences in the 1400 block of Rock Creek Road. Detectives seized approximately 252 pounds of packaged and unpackaged marijuana, methamphetamine, 14 firearms, a ballistic vest, surveillance equipment, and other evidence. Subsequent to this investigation, RADE detectives cited and released ED LINEBAUGH, age 57, GRADY HANING, age 32, and ANDREW HANING, age 30, on drug-related charges.
Including the above-mentioned case, during the 30-day period RADE investigations led to the seizure of:
- 930 pounds of marijuana bud
- Over 7,500 pounds of wet marijuana plant weight from 279 mature marijuana plants
- User amounts of methamphetamine, heroin, and Percocet tablets
- Hundreds of pounds of additional marijuana either drying or considered "shake"
- 120 firearms
The following are brief reviews of these cases:
On October 16, 2012, RADE Detectives contacted a Grants Pass-area residence in the 1800 block of Cloverlawn Drive that resulted in the seizure of 38 marijuana plants, 6 pounds of marijuana bud, US Currency and 2 firearms. The investigation is ongoing.
On October 16, 2012, RADE detectives arrested KURT TRUJILLO, age 24, after he delivered Percocet tablets to detectives posing as buyers in Grants Pass. TRUJILLO was lodged in the Josephine County Jail. Two people who arrived with TRUJILLO were found to be in possession of heroin and Vicodin. The investigation is ongoing.
On October 16, 2012, RADE detectives contacted two people delivering Percocet tablets to detectives posing as buyers. The investigation is ongoing.
On October 16, 2012, RADE detectives contacted JOSE MARROQUIN, age 36, when he delivered one-half pound of marijuana to detectives posing as buyers. Approximately 14 more pounds of marijuana and a firearm were also seized from his Grants Pass-area residence. MARROQUIN was cited and release on drug-related charges.
On October 16, 2012, RADE detectives contacted two people delivering one-half pound of marijuana to detectives posing as buyers. They were also in possession of heroin. The investigation is ongoing.
On October 20, 2012, RADE detectives arrested BILL BASKINS JR, age 55, on Fir Drive in Cave Junction and arrested him on an outstanding federal warrant stemming from his arrest in Arkansas where he was found to be in possession of over 240 pounds of marijuana. After taking him into custody, detectives seized approximately five pounds of marijuana bud, US Currency, a firearm and other items of evidence from his residence.
On October 20, 2012, RADE detectives served a search warrant on 5000 block of Holland Loop Road in Cave Junction that resulted in the arrest of DENISE ENGERBRETSON, age 52. Detectives seized 12 marijuana plants, 11 pounds of marijuana bud, US Currency and 2 firearms.
On October 23, 2012, RADE detectives assisted OSP Patrol Division troopers with an investigation that resulted in the seizure of 8 pounds of marijuana after a RADE detective obtained and executed a search warrant on a vehicle a trooper had stopped. The investigation is ongoing.
On October 24, 2012, RADE detectives contacted a residence in the 3300 block of Camp Joy Road in Merlin, after they observed marijuana hanging in the living room. Nine marijuana plants, over 14 pounds of marijuana bud, approximately 200 pounds of marijuana, and three guns (one stolen out of Josephine County) was seized. TERRY KOVACHY, age 45, and JIM RADCLIFE, age 47, were cited and released on drug related charges.
On October 24, 2012, RADE detectives contacted a Merlin-area residence in the 300 block of Connie Lane after obtaining information during another investigation. Detectives seized more than 43 pounds of marijuana bud, over 53 pounds of marijuana, ten firearms, US Currency and approximately 5000 pounds of marijuana from thirty-two mature marijuana plants, some of which were 15 feet tall. Detectives had to use a large dump truck to transport the marijuana. MARSHAL JONES, age 60, was cited and released on drug related charges.
On October 25, 2012, RADE detectives contacted a residence in the 1400 block of Wilderville Lane in Grants Pass after obtaining pertinent information during another investigation. When detectives arrived on the property they contacted 15 "trimmers", mostly out of state residents. The property had a large bunk house, trim room and was set up as a commercial growing operation. Detectives seized over 128 pounds of packaged marijuana bud, 150 pounds of dry marijuana bud, 300 pounds of drying marijuana, 97 mature marijuana plants with a gross weight of approximately 1875 pounds, 44 immature marijuana plants, ten firearms, and other items of evidence. A dump truck was used to transport the marijuana. BEAU RILLO, age 35, was cited and released on drug-related charges.
On October 25, 2012, RADE detectives contacted a residence in the 100 block of Hogue Drive in Wilderville and seized 13 pounds of drying marijuana bud, two handguns, methampetamine, and a very small amount of red phosperous (used in the production of methamphetamine). MIKE MARTINO, age 32, was arrested and lodged on an outstanding warrant and local charges of Unlawful Possession and Manufacture of Marijuana, Unlawful Possession of Methampetamine, Unlawful Possession of Red Phosphorus, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
On October 25, 2012, RADE detectives conducted an investigation at a residence in the 1000 block of Ingalls Lane in Wilderville that resulted in the seizure of 2 pounds of marijuana bud, 22 marijuana plants weighing approximately 625 pounds and one firearm. The investigation is ongoing.
On October 26, 2012, RADE detectives served a search warrant in the 900 block of Reeves Creek in Selma that resulted in the seizure of 32 marijuana plants, 107 pounds of marijuana bud, 36 pounds of pounds of drying marijuana bud, 80 pounds of marijuana bud on stems, and 66 firearms. Detectives arrested RAYMOND BEAIRSTO, age 54. A second person identified as KARA BEAIRSTO, age 50, was also subsequently arrested and charged with various narcotics offenses.
On October 26, 2012, RADE detectives served a search warrant in the 2000 block of Chapman Road in Cave Junction that resulted in the seizure of 14 pounds of marijuana bud, 37 marijuana plants and two firearms. The investigation is ongoing.
On November 7, 2012,RADE detectives served a search warrant in the Cave Junction-area in the 5000 block of Caves Highway where they seized 138 pounds of marijuana bud, approximately 300 pounds of marijuana, six firearms, US Currency and other items of evidence. JON EBLING, age 57 and SAM AUSTIN, age 27, were arrested and lodged in the Josephine County Jail on numerous drug-related charges.
"Growers are growing plants that produce usable quantities of marijuana 'bud' that far exceeds the weights permitted by OMMP and is being distributed nationwide for huge profits," said Johnson.
Johnson pointed out that it would be nearly impossible to conduct the majority of RADE's enforcement work without the help of personnel from the Grants Pass Department of Safety's Criminal Division and their evidence section; members of the Oregon State Police Patrol Services Division, Criminal Investigation Division, and High Intensity Traffic (HIT) team. Additionally, personnel from Josephine County Community Corrections, DEA, ICE, ATF, MADGE, Josephine County District Attorney's Office, Josephine County Sheriff's Office, and Jackson County Sheriff's Office have also contributed occasional resources and / or manpower to assist RADE with their operations.
Anyone with information regarding suspicious drug activity or marijuana growing operations is encouraged to call the RADE tip line at (541) 955-6970.
The interagency RADE team is comprised of personnel from Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, Oregon State Police, Josephine County District Attorney's Office and Josephine County Community Corrections.