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Raid on Bend-area illegal pot grow finds more than plants


A raid on an alleged illegal marijuana grow southeast of Bend a month ago led not only to dozens of plants and two arrests, but discovery of an export scheme in which marijuana products were being shipped out of state, hidden in decorative wall art, authorities said Tuesday.

Since July, the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team has been assisted by a Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office “proactive marijuana enforcement detective” funded by county commissioners, CODE Team Lt. Brian Kindel said. The focus is on the illegal manufacture, processing, sale and export of marijuana while also conducting compliance checks on legal marijuana operations, he said.

On Sept. 6, the sheriff’s detective and CODE Team detectives served a search warrant in the 21000 block of Back Alley Road, assisted by the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team, the region’s SWAT team, Kindel said. The raid followed up on information about a grow site that might be out of compliance.

The investigation’s initial stages turned up an active outdoor marijuana grow that had no records of authorization by any state agency to do so, Kindel said.

During the raid, detectives seized 93 mature marijuana plants, 55 immature plants, nearly six pounds of dried marijuana and nearly five pounds of BHO (butane honey oil) product, as well as two BHO processing labs.

Kindel said about 50 pounds of marijuana “shake” also were destroyed; shake is the leaves and stems of the marijuana plant that contain THC and are used to produce butane honey oil.

Arrested at the scene were Andrew Ledford, 34, and Jennifer Jones, 40, who were booked into the county jail on numerous drug charges.

The evidence at the scene also indicated marijuana products were being illegally exported out of state, Kindel said. So with the help of the U.S. Drug Enforcement administration, a recent shipment from the address to the East Coast was intercepted.

A large quantity of marijuana products was discovered hidden in the shipped packages, which consisted of large wooden decorative wall art with a removable back panel that hid the items, the lieutenant said. Along with packaged marijuana, a “substantial amount” of vaping inserts containing THC were seized, he added.

The investigation is continuing, Kindel said, and more arrests are expected.

Sheriff Shane Nelson said in the news release, ” I am thrilled with the initial success of the proactive marijuana enforcement detective, only being in place since July. This case is a perfect example of the need for this position and a proactive approach to the enforcement of illegal marijuana grows in Deschutes County.”

Others assisting in the investigation included the Bend Police Department and Deschutes County Public Works.

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