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‘Narco-slavery’: Migrant Oregon weed workers face threats amid illegal boom

Processing area of raided Jackson County illegal marijuana facility
Jackson County Sheriff's Office
Processing area of raided Jackson County illegal marijuana facility

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Thousands of immigrants working on Southern Oregon illegal marijuana farms that authorities say are run by foreign cartels are living in squalid conditions and are sometimes being cheated and threatened by their gangland bosses.

The situation has gotten so bad in the largely rural region near the state line with California, amid a violent crime surge and water theft for the growing operations during a severe drought, that Jackson and Douglas counties declared a state of emergency last month.

They requested state funding and other resources, including deployment of the National Guard, to properly enforce cannabis laws.

On Thursday, commissioners in neighboring Josephine County said they are preparing their own emergency declaration. A draft document cites “rampant violations of county codes, state water laws and criminal laws.” They previously wrote a letter to Oregon’s senate president saying the county is experiencing “a tragic surge in narco-slavery.”

A spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, Elizabeth Merah, has said that there are no immediate plans to deploy the National Guard.

Many of the zone’s illegal marijuana farms operate under the guise of being legal hemp farms, but the crops that they grow have amounts of THC — the component that gives pot its high — far above the legal levels allowed for hemp.

State regulators and local law enforcement officers have been overwhelmed by the amount of industrial-scale growing sites, which they say number in the hundreds and possibly thousands.

There aren’t enough inspectors to test for THC content at each site to determine which ones are legal and which are not, officials have said. Some sites, frequently with armed guards, have refused entry to state inspectors. Police have said they do not have the capacity to raid all the suspicious sites because each raid requires an investigation and search warrants.

And some managers of the illegal operations are refusing to pay workers and have threatened them with violence if they go to the authorities or try to quit, according to law enforcement officials and a group that advocates for migrant and farm worker rights.

Read more at:

The Associated Press



      1. There isn’t a completed wall and under the previous administration the flow of illegal crossings was one tenth of what it is now. A completed wall would cut that number down exponentially. That’s not a real disappointing prospect considering what is going on now is a complete disaster.

    1. Much simpler than that. If the state of Oregon wasn’t a sanctuary state it would not draw illegal activity by Mexican cartels. The last 6 years in particular have been case in point, basically allowing illegals to set up shop with no fear of ICE or any federal enforcement of our sovereign nations laws. Unfortunately it is getting worse with the current administration not enforcing these laws at the federal level either.

    2. As long as there are people like DONNY DUMP, there will ALWAYS be a need to exploit CHEAP labor! It’s the American Way! Where have you been? Your post is laughable at best!

  1. Slavery. Doing anything for another is slavery. 8 hours a day 5 days a week for a home that’s loud ugly cold and smells bad. Food nobody should eat. Only release is a talking box with moving pictures. We are all living the peasant life. Remember. All bad things are created by people. Including flesh eating animals. virus, and bad bugs. Put seed in ground add water. and shut up. This world is dying and people are crying because they want more stuff created by others. Slavery will not stop until the want is gone. Time for earth to grow up.

  2. If these people are forced to work as slaves, I suppose we should start talks on reparations. Easier to identify then paying out to great grandchildren. I’m sure Mexico will be happy to pay for it like they did for the wall.

  3. That aweful woman could give 2 sheets about this slavery. She knows darn good and well how uncool it would be for her to assist in any arrest of illegal immigrants. Dems only do what’s cool and hip and right now it’s cool and hip to let illegal immigrants be, regardless if thier lives are in danger.

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