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Police name man killed by officers at marijuana garden

Oregon State Police have released the name of an armed man shot and killed by Jackson County sheriff's deputies raiding an illegal marijuana garden on public land Aug. 11.

Also, Jackson County District attorney Mark Huddleston confirmed today that the man, Itali Arellana-Vargas, 20, of Mexico did not shoot at the officers before they shot him.

"He did not fire his gun," Huddleston said.

Huddleston declined to disclose what the deputies said prompted them to shoot the man, saying he would rather allow the information to come out in testimony before a grand jury hearing scheduled Wednesday.

"The issue for the grand jury is whether or not the action of the officers was in compliance with Oregon law and whether it was justified or constituted a crime," Huddleston said today.

The deputies have not been named publicly. They remain on administrative leave.

Jackson County Sheriff's SWAT and marijuana-eradication teams and Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officers were moving in on a marijuana grow on BLM land off West Evans Creek Road when they encountered the armed man, authorities said.

A medic rendered emergency aid, but Arellana-Vegas died at the scene, authorities reported.

A second man was seen fleeing from the garden, but police were unable to track him, they said.

Police have said they believe the large growing operation was linked to a Mexican drug-trafficking cartel. Federal authorities have reported that cartels favor growing on public land.

OSP was able to notify Arellana-Vargas's next of kin in Mexico of his death with help from that country's consulate, enabling the police agency to release the man's name, said OSP spokesman Lt. Gregg Hastings.

— Paris Achen