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Phoenix couple linked to California pot farm

PHOENIX — A Northern California marijuana garden seized last week has roots in Phoenix, which prompted local police to arrest a Phoenix couple Friday on felony drug charges.

Officers with the Phoenix Police Department and the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team served a search warrant Friday at a home in the 700 block of West First Street in Phoenix.

Officers seized items there they believe are connected to an Etna, Calif., marijuana bust that occurred Sept. 8.

Arrested were Roger and Amy Miller, who were lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of possession of marijuana.

Children at the scene were turned over to a family member under the supervision of the Department of Human Services.

"We think the arrests in Phoenix and the case in Etna are related," MADGE team supervisor Lt. Tim Doney said. "We could have more details about these cases at a later date."

According to the Siskiyou Daily News, based in Yreka, Calif., law-enforcement officials from several departments located a marijuana garden on Patterson Creek Road near Etna on Wednesday.

The garden was spotted by a Siskiyou County sheriff's deputy in August, who was called to the property for a minor case. He saw evidence on the property that led him to believe an illegal marijuana garden was in the area.

When police returned Sept. 8, they seized 510 plants, around 25 pounds of processed marijuana and a .40-caliber handgun.

Arrested were Kim Balsz of Etna; Michael Murdock of Ashland and Kyle Ray of Louisville, Ky., on charges of manufacture of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and criminal conspiracy, the Siskiyou Daily News reported.

Doney did not comment on whether more local busts would come from the Etna case.

"We are keeping our eyes out," Doney said. "It's not uncommon for drug operations to cross state lines like this."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.