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Three arrested on charges of distributing marijuana from Central Point to Salem

Three Jackson County residents are jailed in Salem on drug charges after a multi-agency investigation linked them to more than 100 pounds of marijuana, as well as cash, hash and guns.

The cooperative efforts of authorities in Salem, Eugene and Medford led to the arrest of Joe Timothy Sells, 28, of Medford, and a Central Point couple, 29-year-old Johnny Oscar Kenneth and his 25-year-old wife, Christiana K. Kenneth. All three, who are registered in the state's medical marijuana program, face charges of possession and delivery of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, Marion County Jail records show. Bail for each is set at $1 million.

The investigation started when a street crimes unit of the Salem Police Department was tipped off about a big shipment of marijuana destined for distribution in the Salem area this week, police said in news releases.

Salem police detectives found Sells and Johnny Kenneth at a Salem motel on Tuesday. The two men were taken into custody and investigators reported finding 33 pounds of marijuana bagged in 1-pound packages and ready for distribution and $3,000 in cash in a 2006 Honda Ridgeline. The drugs and money were seized, as was the sport-utility vehicle, which was believed to be purchased with illegal narcotics proceeds, Salem police said in a news release.

Following up, investigators linked Christiana Kenneth, who was in Eugene, to the case. Eugene police arrested her Tuesday and took her to Marion County to face charges.

With information gathered by Salem police, the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team got a search warrant for the Kenneths' Truax Road home, which is a registered medical marijuana growing site, MADGE supervisor Lt. Tim Doney said.

At about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, MADGE and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department searched the home in the 6700 block of Truax Road, Central Point. Investigators found about 70 pounds of marijuana — some loose in a large plastic tote and more bagged and stored in a safe — 3 ounces of hashish, a gallon of hash oil, $14,000 cash suspected to be drug proceeds and seven firearms, Doney said.

He said the case will be referred to the Jackson County District Attorney's Office for the consideration of additional local charges.

The Kenneths and Sells remained lodged in the Marion County Jail Thursday night.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 541-776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.