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DEA raids another medical marijuana garden in Central Point

CENTRAL POINT — The Drug Enforcement Administration continued its plant-pulling campaign against local medical marijuana growers Thursday by raiding a garden on Tolo Road in Central Point.

Lori Duckworth, executive director of the Southern Oregon chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, or SONORML, said DEA agents pulled 17 plants from a garden and are seeking a warrant to search the owner's home in Ashland.

"The garden is on Tolo Road and it had been harvested," Duckworth said. "There were around 198 plants there, but after harvest there was only around 17 left."

Duckworth said the cleaned and dried marijuana was at the grower's home. The DEA searched his house and found some marijuana drying.

The DEA is seeking to search his business.

"They asked him for consent to search his business but he did not consent," Duckworth said. "But they were seeking a warrant at the time the grower was in my office today."

The grower came to SONORML seeking advice on where to turn, Duckworth. She said the man is among several local growers who are disturbed by the recent raids.

"People are scared," Duckworth said. "This is week four, the fourth raid in a row."

The raid came one day after SONORML and its supporters staged a protest in downtown Medford decrying the raids.

"I guess they didn't get the message," Duckworth said. "All this is doing is leaving disabled people without their medicine."

On Oct. 14, DEA agents tore out about 120 pot plants with an excavator and loaded them into large dump trucks at 12345 Table Rock Road, about two miles south of Highway 238.

The previous week Brian's Green Thumb Farm on East Gregory Road was raided. More than 400 plants were jerked out of the ground by DEA agents during the morning raid.

So far, no one at the garden has been charged with a crime, and neither the U.S. Attorney's Office nor the DEA will comment on the raids agents have performed on two large cooperative marijuana farms in the Rogue Valley over the past two weeks.

Another raid was held on Sept. 27. This DEA-led raid on Old Stage Road in Gold Hill saw close to 400 plants eradicated while the providers who worked the land were temporarily detained by law enforcement.

No one has been formally charged with a crime in any of these cases.

Duckworth fears there will be more raids as harvest season continues.

"From what I remember, there has never been anything like this happen in Jackson County before," Duckworth said.

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