Police arrest alleged drug dealer during house search

Rogue River suspect faces array of charges
Medford Police Chief Tim George displays a table covered with weapons, heroin and bulletproof vests that were seized during a raid in Rogue River Wednesday. Mail Tribune / Bob PennellBob Pennell

ROGUE RIVER — An alleged heroin dealer and member of the white supremacist Nazi Low Rider prison gang barricaded himself in a closet, fought with SWAT officers and was eventually subdued with a stun gun during a search at his home Wednesday that turned up illegal drugs, stolen guns, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, cash and body armor, police reported.

Thomas Walter Anderson, 46, of the 4800 block of North River Road, Rogue River, was being held in the Jackson County Jail on 17 counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of being a felon in possession of body armor, four counts of theft, and charges of resisting arrest and the delivery, manufacture and possession of heroin.

Video online

See www.mailtribune.com/video to watch a video of the guns and drugs seized by police during the search warrant investigation

His bail was set at $167,000 Thursday, jail records show.

"This guy's been on the MADGE team radar for the last three years," said Medford Deputy Police Chief Tim Doney. "He's got a significant criminal history."

The Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement — MADGE — team and Medford police SWAT served a search warrant at the home at 6 a.m. Wednesday, Doney said. MADGE is a countywide task force that operates out of the Medford Police Department.

After Anderson barricaded himself in the closet, police had to dismantle the door using tools, Doney said. Then, officers said, they had to subdue him with a stun gun.

"He was shocked several times," Doney said. "He didn't give up without a fight."

Police said Anderson was taken to Providence Medford Medical Center for an evaluation before being transported to the jail.

"We used every resource," said Medford police Chief Tim George, while displaying the seized weapons to media Thursday. "We had everything that we could bring to the table on this kind of case because of what you're looking at here."

During the investigation, police found 3 ounces of heroin, along with 12 handguns and five rifles. Some of the firearms were found buried around the property, police said. Several were determined to have been stolen from Medford and Grants Pass.

George said the threat of heroin abuse in Southern Oregon has skyrocketed. He said it's become such a problem that police will soon be carrying naxolone, or Narcan, a substance designed to halt opiate-based drug overdoses.

"You're going to have police officers — in their cars, in their first-aid kit — carrying a commercial product to help people come back from what could be a fatal overdose of heroin," George said. "That ought to tell you where we're going with this. That ought to tell you how prevalent heroin is if you're going to do that kind of intervention."

A Grants Pass transient named Benjamin Andrew Chmelir, 25, also was arrested in the raid Wednesday and jailed on an out-of-county warrant stemming from a parole violation on a past third-degree assault charge, and on first-degree theft and burglary charges. His bail is set at $80,000, jail records show.

Anderson's wife, 20-year-old Marion Amanda Clark, and an elderly male relative also were present but were not arrested, police said.

Police arrested Anderson and Clark in January on methamphetamine and heroin charges. Anderson also was arrested at that time for being a felon in possession of knives he had in the home. Both are scheduled to go to trial on those charges in Jackson County Circuit Court in January 2014, court records show.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com.

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