The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office has announced the seizure of millions of dollars worth of marijuana amid efforts to tackle illegal grow sites in the area.
On Monday, Sheriff Chris Kaber said in a news release his agency seized 493 plants and 91 pounds of processed marijuana during multiple investigations this year. The combined value of the marijuana ranged between $2.1 million and $7 million, depending on how it would be distributed.
Also taken were 22 unlawful firearms, tactical gear, one set of body armor and $15,210 in U.S. currency.
“The proliferation of marijuana grow sites in Klamath County became the topic of many public and private discussions during the early months of summer 2017,” said Kaber. “The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office began receiving complaints from citizens, business owners and others concerned with an unchecked, and at times ‘in our face,’ disregard for laws.”
Kaber said, in light of understaffing in his agency, he received approval from county commissioners to temporarily hire back a retired deputy dedicated to investigating grow sites. Documented were 62 sites from throughout the county with the majority in Eastern Klamath County, but also multiple within the Klamath Falls Urban Growth Boundary.
Of these, the sheriff’s office performed 27 site checks to confirm if the sites were recreational or medical, as county ordinance currently does not allow recreational marijuana grows in unincorporated areas. Kaber said eight of the grow sites were medical and only one of these was in compliance with the law.
The site checks resulted in the aforementioned seizures as well as eight arrests. Some illegal grows were found to have out-of-state connections including Nevada, Illinois, Florida, Minnesota and Ohio.
Kaber said, when investigations resume in 2018, he expects his office will be “more proactive” using information they learned this year. He said illegal grows often present code enforcement problems in addition to law violations, including trash, partially constructed buildings, abandoned vehicles, wildfires and human waste.
Assisting the sheriff’s office in this endeavor were Klamath County Code Enforcement, Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry and Emergency Air Lift.