© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Law enforcement agencies bust large illegal pot operations across Lane County

Large building with illegal marijuana plants and lights, fans.
Lane County Sheriff's Office.
An illegal marijuana grow inside a spacious building that was recently raided by law enforcement officers.

Officials have made multiple busts of illegal marijuana operations across Lane County recently, seizing tons of processed pot and lots of guns and cash.

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office says on February 15, local and federal agencies raided seven locations following a year-long investigation into a large criminal marijuana manufacturing and processing ring. Over 16,000 marijuana plants and $280,000 in currency, vehicles, firearms, and growing equipment were seized.

One site was distributing the illegal pot to places as far away as Texas, Arkansas, Minnesota, and France. One man who was arrested was already on probation in Texas after he was caught shipping marijuana through the U.S. Postal Service.

Other sites included one in West Eugene near the Amazon Canal, which required a hazmat cleanup of highly flammable materials that’s ongoing.

On March 15, agencies executed search warrants at various residences in Eugene and Happy Valley, resulting in over 12,000 marijuana plants and 3,600 pounds of processed dope being confiscated. Over $400,000 in cash was also found.

LCSO deputies learned over the course of the investigation that some suspects were previously involved in a 2017 criminal ring that operated in King County, Washington. The transcontinental drug trafficking they carried included more than $9 million being wired to China under different business names.

With the help of Chinese interpreters, detectives learned that workers at these large growing operations were promised $3,000-$5,000 a month. Some said they were forced to work 13-hour days all week, and many hadn’t been paid for months or longer.

Three people were arrested and investigations are ongoing.

In a release, LCSO thanked its partners as well as the Oregon National Guard for analytics help.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
Related Content