An Alfalfa woman whose home was destroyed by fire on Tuesday was arrested Wednesday by Central Oregon drug agents who said they found evidence of an illegal marijuana grow in the home and of a hashish oil operation in a nearby shed.
Lt. Ken Mannix of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team said CODE Team detectives were contacted by Oregon State Police investigators about the fire at a manufactured home at 24835 Elk Lane in Alfalfa, east of Bend.
Mannix said CODE detectives found evidence of an illegal marijuana grow operation in the home’s burned-out remains. He said evidence of a second marijuana grow operation was found inside one shed on the property and of manufacturing of “butane honey oil” in a second shed, neither damaged by the fire.
Evidence seized at the scene included extraction chambers, hydrocarbon-based solvents, packaging material and other items.
Around 11 a.m. Thursday, Autumn Averette, 23, was arrested at the location by CODE detectives on two counts of unlawful manufacture of marijuana and booked into the Deschutes County Jail, Mannix said. A jail officer said she was released about 90 minutes later on her own recognizance, pending a May 25 court date.
CODE also was seeking two reported roommates, Lauren Todd, 28, and Alexander Lioulios, 34, for questioning in the case.
The Oregon State Police Arson Division and State Fire Marshal’s Office were called in to investigate the cause of the fire. After a comprehensive investigation, they have preliminarily ruled it to be accidental in nature, Mannix said.
Mannix said the CODE Team was still actively working on the case.
It’s the second “butane honey oil,” or BHO operation found in rural Deschutes County in the past month. In a March 30 raid on a home north of Bend, drug agents found a marijuana grow and a lab to make the potent form of hash oil, which can be vaporized and inhaled for an intense high, without marijuana’s pungent smell.
The fire broke out early Tuesday afternoon and destroyed a home in the Alfalfa community east of Bend — an area long without fire protection, where voters approved a new fire district in 2013 that is not yet up and running.
No one was home when the fire was reported around 12:30 p.m. at 24835 Elk Lane, people on scene said.
Chickens on the property were removed from any danger, according to Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies who were on scene to make sure the fire didn’t spread or spark a wildfire.
Volunteers with the American Red Cross disaster action team provided help to the one adult resident in the form of temporary lodging, assistance to meet immediate, disaster-related basic needs and information about recovery services.
Deschutes and Crook county voters in the area overwhelmingly approved the fire district in November 2013, starting the process of raising tax revenues, siting a fire station and most recently hiring Ron Thompson as its first fire chief.
A community town hall is planned Wednesday at 6 p.m. to meet Thompson, according to the fire district Website, which also lists a need for volunteer firefighters.