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Arrests point to spike in Medford drug activity

Medford drug cops seized drugs and handguns this week from alleged gang members suspected of dealing methamphetamine and heroin near North Medford High School.

Meanwhile, police said they plan to step up patrols in areas of drug and gang activity.

The Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) officers began Wednesday serving a search warrant at a home in the 2100 block of Brookhurst Street.

They had received information that drugs were being sold from the house and that its occupant was a Norteño gang member.

Police said they seized methamphetamine, scales, drug packaging materials and a .357 revolver from the home, which sits less than 1,000 feet from North Medford High School.

Jose Antonio Regalado, 21, was arrested on charges of manufacture, distribution and possession of methamphetamine near a school. In addition, he was charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon, a felony.

Regalado remains lodged in the Jackson County Jail on $1 million bail.

In an unrelated case, MADGE officers and the Medford police SWAT team served a warrant in the 1800 block of Crater Lake Avenue.

Three males were detained at the residence. One was identified as a documented member of the Crips gang.

Police said they found heroin, scales, packaging materials, $1,100 in cash and a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun. Like the previous house, the residence was less than 1,000 feet from North Medford High School.

A 17-year-old male was taken into custody on charges of manufacture, distribution and possession of heroin near a school. He was taken to the Jackson County Juvenile Justice Center and lodged on those charges.

In a third investigation unrelated to the previous arrests, MADGE officers Thursday searched a home in the 1300 block of Siskiyou Boulevard, where they said they found heroin, cocaine, psilocybin mushrooms, scales and packaging materials.

Charles Eric Jackson, 22, was arrested on charges of manufacture, distribution and possession of heroin, manufacture, possession and distribution of psilocybin mushrooms and possession of cocaine.

Jackson remains lodged in jail on $80,000 bail.

Also arrested were Bernie G. Helms II, 21, on a charge of possession of methamphetamine and Kevin Walker Maple, 27, on charges of possession of heroin and a parole violation.

Helms remained jailed Friday on $5,000 bail. Maple's parole violation charge is keeping him jailed without bail.

"These cases themselves might be unrelated, but the connection here is the increase in drug activity we are seeing in the city," Medford police Chief Tim George said. "One thing the last two to three years has shown is drug distribution and gangs are linked."

A recent spike of drug and gang activity in west Medford has prompted the Medford Police Department to increase its visibility in the areas of South Columbus Avenue and Union Park.

Officers will be patrolling those streets on foot, mountain bikes and in vehicles for at least the next two weeks.

"Our overall goal is to advance our current enforcement efforts a little further in those areas," George said. "The riot case on South Columbus and an increase of intoxicated people we are seeing in that area are concerns. The citizens in these neighborhoods will see a lot more of us for a minimum of the next two weeks."

West Medford was the scene of a large brawl Sunday involving gang members armed with knives, bats and clubs. Three men were arrested on riot and disorderly conduct charges.

Police suspect a beef among local gang members sparked the fight. Those involved were alleged Sureño and Norteño gang members, possibly retaliating over the June 13 murder of 18-year-old Ted Sanchez at a Phoenix trailer park.

In an unrelated incident, a man was shot multiple times Monday evening off South Columbus Avenue, about a block from the scene of the previous day's fight. He survived and was later released from the hospital. Police said there was no gang involvement in the shooting.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.