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April 13, 2023
Deputies stumbled into a significant illegal marijuana operation in southern Oregon this week, finding an amount of marijuana with a street value conservatively estimated at more than $100 million, authorities said.
A 27,000-square-foot (2508-square-meter) potato shed south of Klamath Falls was filled with marijuana in various stages of processing, the Herald and News reported. Authorities said marijuana was drying in giant strands that stretched from the roof to the floor, buds had been pruned and stuffed into 40-pound (18 kilogram) bags, hundreds of those bags were stacked against a wall, and years of discarded marijuana waste was in piles ready for disposal.
Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber said Friday he had never seen anything like it in 30 years of police work. It was found Wednesday after someone called in possible smoke in the area. Arriving deputies noticed the back of a nearby building was open and they could clearly see marijuana inside, Kaber said. “Our deputies showed up and they saw what they saw and they couldn’t unsee it.”
The search at the potato shed led detectives to two other grow operations that were linked to the processing facility, where they found more marijuana and processing equipment, the sheriff said. The three sites were linked by land ownership, lease agreements and by heavy equipment rentals to multiple locations taken out under a single name, Kaber said.
Many illegal grows in the county are operating on property owned by local landowners, who tend to lease their property to strangers who claim they want to grow legal hemp. In reality, people growing illegally are getting a good price for a place to grow at the expense of the landowner, who assumes most of the risk, the sheriff said (New Canaan Advertiser).
ARTICLE: TAMMY FISHBACK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: OPB.ORG