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22,000 plants seized at grow site in Klamath County

Oregon State Police detectives say they found 85 greenhouses containing 22,000 unauthorized marijuana plants at a grow operation in Klamath County near Malin. [OSP photo]

Oregon State Police and other narcotics officers say they found 22,000 illegal marijuana plants growing on a rural property in Klamath County, and are investigating related potential water thefts.

Detectives with OSP’s Klamath Falls Area Command and Southwest Region Drug Enforcement Section found the cannabis plants growing inside more than 85 greenhouses Wednesday on a 150-acre property near Malin, according to a news release issued Thursday.

The property was not registered with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp, nor was it registered with the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission to grow recreational marijuana, according to police. Tests determined the plants to be marijuana, not hemp.

Each of the at least 85 hoop houses measured 30-by-100-feet, according to OSP, totaling more than five acres.

Detectives allegedly found evidence of stolen groundwater for the illicit grow, according to police.

The release states that detectives interviewed people at the grow site, but police did not identify any suspects because “additional follow-up investigation is being conducted” between OSP, the Oregon Water Resources Department, the Basin Interagency Narcotics Team, Klamath Falls police, the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office and the Klamath County District Attorney’s office.

The owners of the property could face felony charges of conspiring to export marijuana items and manufacturing marijuana, misdemeanor charges of unlawfully possessing marijuana or hemp and unlawful use or appropriation of ground water.

The release did not identify the property owner, and court records show no arraignments in Klamath County Circuit Court on the charges this week.