The consumption of marijuana for recreational and medical purposes is now legal in Oregon, but the cultivation of the drug is strictly regulated by the state. Law enforcement agencies may no longer arrest people for possessing or smoking marijuana, but they still conduct investigations into illegal growing operations. One such investigation reached its conclusion on March 4 when Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office deputies and detectives and Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team officers executed search warrants at a storage unit and three residences.
The searches led to the discovery of hundreds of marijuana plants, numerous firearms, more than 200 pounds of processed marijuana and approximately $127,000 in U.S. currency. Black mold was also allegedly found in one of the locations, which police say highlights the dangers of consuming drugs that have been cultivated in unregulated and unsanitary conditions. A home on Zagt Lane near Sunriver was the primary focus of the investigation according to the DCSO.
Three people were taken into custody during the operation. A 42-year-old Bend man, a 40-year-old Bend woman and a 44-year-old Redmond man have all been charged with possessing marijuana and marijuana extract and manufacturing and distributing a controlled substance. They were transported to the Deschutes County Adult Jail. A corrections officer later reported that the three suspects had been released on their own recognizance.
Drugs, money, guns and other items seized during operations like this one provide prosecutors with very powerful evidence, but only if police searches were conducted properly. Criminal suspects often believe that police can do as they like if they have a search warrant, but that is rarely true. Judges generally make the scope of search warrants clear, and experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to have seized evidence excluded and drug charges dismissed when these boundaries are ignored.