The Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) was busy this September serving black-market cannabis search warrants throughout Jackson County while the outdoor growing season winds down. Last month, IMET seized 10,570 marijuana plants, and 4,020 lbs. of processed cannabis from three separate properties. At this time there is no evidence suggesting the cases are connected. IMET also assisted Oregon State Police with three warrants and Josephine County Sheriff’s Office with one.
On September 14, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) SWAT team responded to a black-market cannabis growing and processing facility to assist IMET detectives in serving a search warrant. IMET utilized the JCSO SWAT team after investigations determined an elevated threat level due to the property owner’s violent criminal history. The grow, located at the 7900 block of East Antelope Road in rural Eagle Point, Ore. contained 6,496 marijuana plants growing in rows without greenhouses.
This growing method is usually reserved for hemp but testing confirmed the plants were marijuana. The property contained no licensing of any kind. There was no one on scene when the warrant was served but the primary suspect has been identified. During a search of the residence, investigators discovered a trimming facility, scales, packaging material, and shipping boxes, as well as nine counterfeit $100 bills. Jackson County Code Enforcement issued $2,000 in fines to the property owner for failing to obtain marijuana production approval, and non-permitted electrical. Oregon Water Resources Department District 13 Watermasters observed water use from wells for commercial irrigation that is not authorized. Department staff will issue a Notice of Violation (NOV) to the responsible parties. Water violations of this kind are subject to both civil and criminal penalties.
On September 20, IMET served a search warrant at a tax lot near the 700 block of West Fork Trail Creek Road in Trail, Ore. On scene, detectives seized 740 plants, 3,900 lbs. of processed cannabis, and two firearms. There was no one on scene when the warrant was served but the primary suspect has been identified. Code Enforcement issued fines totaling $21,000 to the property owner for violations including unpermitted greenhouse structures, unapproved marijuana production, unpermitted electrical installations, solid waste, and camping within a marijuana grow site. Watermasters responded to conduct a compliance check and the landowner was found to be out of compliance with a water use violation that was issued on August 17. The investigation is being forwarded to enforcement.
On September 21, IMET served a search warrant on the 15500 block of East Evans Creek Road in rural Rogue River, Ore. At the location, investigators seized 3,334 plants, and 120 lbs. processed. There was no one on scene when the warrant was served but the primary suspects have been identified. Code Enforcement issued $14,000 in fines to the property owner for 2 non-permitted greenhouse structures, failing to obtain marijuana production approval, non-permitted electrical, and accumulation of solid waste. Watermasters observed water use from wells for commercial irrigation that is not authorized and will issue a violation to the responsible parties. Water violations of this kind are subject to both civil and criminal penalties.
While regulatory agencies investigate permitted cannabis operations, IMET is focusing on the black-market marijuana trade in the Rogue Valley. IMET is a multi-agency task force funded by a grant from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. The task force includes personnel from JCSO, Medford Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, Code Enforcement, Watermasters, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.
Investigations are open and ongoing with detectives working additional leads. Authorities say no further information is currently available for release.