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Suspicious propane tank at motel leads to three drug-related arrests

The sighting of propane tanks and a torch being hauled into a Medford motel room Tuesday led to the arrest of three people on warrant and drug-related charges.

The incident was reported at 3 p.m. at the Motel 6 on Alba Drive. A front desk clerk saw the activity and called police. Police knocked on the room's door, greeted by 19-year-old Amber Ziegler of Central Point. Lt. Mike Budreau said she tried to slam the door, but that police made it into the room before she could close it all the way.

Inside, police also found packaging, scales, small baggies of methamphetamine, marijuana, glass pipes and the propane tanks, one with a torch attached. Investigators said the tanks and torch may have been used to heat up the drug, though that is not confirmed. 

"It's unusual, absolutely," said. Lt. Kevin Walruff of the Medford Area Drug & Gang Enforcement task force.

Police also found a safe and are in the process of obtaining a warrant to get inside it. The specific amount of methamphetamine found was not available, though police referred to it as "user amounts."

Ziegler, 24-year-old Devan Jay Wheeler of Talent, and 28-year-old Eric James Blanchard of Eagle Point, were all arrested on drug charges and warrants. Ziegler is no longer listed in the Jackson County Jail. Wheeler remained there Wednesday afternoon, held without bail on a probation violation and a methamphetamine charge. He was to be arraigned on that charge Thursday, according to court records. Blanchard remained held on $5,000 on numerous failure to appear charges.

The case remains under investigation by MADGE and Medford police.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.