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MADGE bust at Medford Walmart nets meth, $20,000 in cash

Narcotics investigators arrested two Yreka residents Tuesday at the south Medford Walmart after a search of their pickup turned up a pound and a half of meth and $20,000 cash, police reported today.

Medford police Lt. Kevin Walruff, commander of the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team, says investigators believe 53-year-old Jeffrey Stuart Lawhorn and 25-year-old Amanda Nicole Wilson brought the drugs from Northern California specifically for distribution in the Rogue Valley.

Walruff said investigators were acting on a tip from the public that Lawhorn and Wilson were in the area for a possible drug deal. "It came to fruition that they were at the Walmart and we were able to make contact with them," he said. According to probable cause affidavits filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, the meth was in plain view between the driver's and front passenger's seat, separated into three bags. Police estimate the seized meth has a street value of $12,000-$15,000. 

Walruff said it was somewhat unusual for local law enforcement to seize a large quantity of meth originating from Northern California, explaining that usually the drugs come from Southern California or the Central Valley. Siskiyou County, however, was recently recognized as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area through the same federal program that funds MADGE.

"We've worked a few cases with them since they were added to the program," he said.

Lawhorn and Wilson are both lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of possession and delivery of methamphetamine. Bail for each is set at $520,000, jail records show.

Walruff said MADGE investigators are working with Northern California law enforcement to try to determine where the drugs came from and any other criminal connections the two might have.

Lawhorn has one prior conviction in Jackson County from 2006 for possession of methamphetamine, while Wilson has no prior felony convictions in the county, court records show. "Most of (their criminal history) is in California," Walruff said.

Reach reporter Thomas Moriarty at 541-776-4471, or by email at tmoriarty@mailtribune.com. Follow him at @ThomasDMoriarty.

Amanda Wilson
Jeffrey Stuart Lawhorn