Central Oregon drug agents, assisted by the region’s SWAT team, raided five sophisticated, illegal marijuana grow operations in the off-the-grid Juniper Acres area east of Alfalfa last week, seizing more than 1,000 plants, nine guns and a butane honey oil lab while making three arrests, officials said Wednesday.
The Deschutes County Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team had spent several months investigating complaints from the Alfalfa community regarding suspected illegal marijuana grow operations, said Lt. Jason Maniscalco of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) Team.
The residents’ concerns “ranged from increased traffic to a steady increase in suspicious activity,” Maniscalco said.
Investigators determined the “root cause” of the activity was related to several illegal marijuana grows in Juniper Acres, about 10 miles east of the Alfalfa Store, in Crook County, the lieutenant said.
Five search warrants were served Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the Juniper Acres area, Maniscalco said. Also involved in the operation was the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team, the Crook County Sheriff’s Office and Crook County Road Department.
The raids led to the seizure of more than 1,000 marijuana plants, some up to 15 feet tall, as well as over 200 pounds of processed marijuana, the BHO lab, nine firearms, psilocybin mushrooms and nearly $12,000 in cash, Maniscalco said.
All five sites had sophisticated illegal marijuana grows, he said, “and there was evidence to support the illegal marijuana was destined for out-of-state delivery.”
Shawn Burke, 39, of Prineville, was charged with manufacture of BHO extract, possession of a quarter-ounce of extract and drug manufacture, possession and delivery.
James Lamkin, 29, of Prineville, was charged with drug manufacture, possession and delivery, psilocybin possession and an arrest warrant out of Deschutes County. Lee Kennedy, 39, of Bend, faces drug manufacture, possession and delivery charges.
Maniscalco said only Lamkin was lodged in the Crook County Jail due to the Deschutes County arrest warrant. The other two men were arrested by citation in lieu of custody, pending future court dates.
The Deschutes County Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team is made up of a sheriff’s detective, a marijuana analyst with the sheriff’s office and a Bend police detective assigned to the CODE Team. “The team focuses on illegal marijuana operations that directly affect residents in Deschutes County,” Maniscalco said.