Fifteen arrested in multi-agency drug sweep
Approximately 90 city, state and federal police officers swarmed across the Rogue Valley Thursday in one of the largest methamphetamine busts in recent history.
Fifteen people were lodged in the Jackson County Jail on felony drug charges as part of Operation Clear Green, which focused on a group responsible for selling pounds of meth per week, Medford police Lt. Brett Johnson said.
A yearlong investigation into the group turned up enough evidence for eight search warrants served in Medford, Eagle Point, White City and Central Point on Thursday, Johnson said.
"We've been watching this organization closely since we first learned about them last year," Johnson said.
The case began last summer when Jackson County sheriff's deputies raided a large outdoor marijuana garden. A thousand plants were pulled from the garden by the Southern Oregon Multi-Agency Marijuana Eradication (SOMMER) team.
SOMMER then shared their findings with the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) team during a briefing. The teams found that many of the same suspects appeared in two separate drug investigations headed by both agencies, Johnson said.
Over the past year, SOMMER and MADGE learned that a large group of suspects were working together to move meth throughout the county.
The agencies brought in officers from the Talent, Ashland, Central Point, Phoenix, Oregon State Police, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, and several federal agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to serve warrants at eight locations tied to the drug traffickers Thursday morning.
The drug houses were located on McLoughlin Drive in Central Point, Yankee Creek Road in Eagle Point and Vilas Road in Medford.
The warrants turned up 3 pounds of methamphetamine, marijuana plants, an ounce of heroin, a small amount of cocaine, 1 pound of dried marijuana, three handguns, two rifles and $30,000 in cash, believed to be proceeds from drug sales.
Among those arrested were:
- Benardo Parra-Chavez, 28, of Central Point, was arrested on eight counts of delivery of methamphetamine and eight counts of manufacture of methamphetamine. He was lodged in jail on $4 million bail.
- Stephanie Huff, 23, of Medford, was charged with delivery of methamphetamine, manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and first-degree child neglect. She was lodged in jail on $530,000 bail.
- Juan Garcia-Ledezma, 28, of Medford, was charged with five counts of delivery of methamphetamine and five counts of possession of methamphetamine. He was lodged on $2,550,000 bail.
- Hugo Flores-Galvan, 25, of Medford was charged with delivery, possession, manufacture of methamphetamine and marijuana. He was lodged in jail on more than $1 million bail.
- Antonio Alonzo-Gomez, 43, of Medford, was charged with three counts each of delivery, manufacture and possession of methamphetamine. He was lodged on more than $1 million bail.
- Hector Saldana-Madrigal, 38, of White City, was charged with delivery and possession of methamphetamine. He was lodged on $510,000 bail.
- Victor Zaragosa-Infante, 53, of Medford, was charged with two counts each of delivery and possession of methamphetamine. He was lodged on more than $1 million bail.
- Jose Zamora-Tovar, 48, of White City, was charged with delivery, manufacture and possession of methamphetamine. He was lodged on $60,000 bail.
- Julie Nichole Parke, 33, of Eagle Point, was charged with possession of methamphetamine. She was lodged on $10,000 bail.
- Bernie George Helms, 21, no known address, was charged with a probation violation. He was lodged on $5,000 bail.
- Jeffrey Baltazar, 35, Victor Solis-Guzman, 24 and Alberto Salcedo-Jimenez, 28, all of Medford, were cited and released for possession of methamphetamine.
In addition, two juveniles were arrested on probation violations and lodged at the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center in Medford.
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.