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Marijuana raids uncover fire hazards

Raids along the Applegate River revealed fire and electrical hazards along with 36,000 marijuana plants. [Photo courtesy Josephine County Sheriff’s Office]
Greenhouses clustered along Applegate River

Investigators found tens of thousands of marijuana plants, plus hazards like a campfire burning next to a pile of flammable trash during raids along the Applegate River in Josephine County.

Teams executed 11 search warrants Tuesday between the 8000 and 10000 block of Williams Highway. The stretch of highway south of Grants Pass winds along a thickly wooded section of the Applegate River.

Southern Oregon is in extreme fire conditions with tinder-dry fuels. But that didn’t stop people at one of the sites from cooking food over a campfire next to cardboard, plastic, a discarded mattress and other garbage. The trash pile and fire also were near a thicket of flammable blackberry brambles, plus a charred burn barrel, according to photos from the raids.

Aerial photos showed a dense concentration of plastic-covered greenhouses hidden among trees near the river.

During the raids, 36,000 marijuana plants and approximately 2,500 pounds of processed marijuana were seized and destroyed, according to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.

The area of the raid had multiple electrical, water and solid waste code violations, which could result in civil forfeiture of the property, the sheriff’s office said.

Multiple workers were detained for officer safety, but the primary suspect was not located during the execution of the warrants. The suspect could face charges of unlawful manufacture of marijuana, unlawful possession of marijuana and misappropriation of water, the sheriff’s office said.

The Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team executed the search warrants with help from Rogue Area Drug Enforcement, Josephine County Code Enforcement, the Oregon State Police Southwest Region Drug Enforcement Section Team, Homeland Security Investigations and the Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team of the Medford Police Department and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

In other raids Monday, teams executed a search warrant in the 200 block of College Drive near the Rogue Community College campus outside Grants Pass, and a second search warrant in the 1200 block of Pickett Creek Road west of Merlin, the sheriff’s office said.

Approximately 3,000 marijuana plants and 1,000 pounds of processed marijuana were seized and destroyed. The properties had multiple electrical, water and solid waste code violations that could result in civil forfeiture of the property, the sheriff’s office said.

Ian Seiwell Hogue and Christine Ann Hadik, both 34 years old, were arrested and lodged in the Josephine County Jail, the sheriff’s office said.

Hogue, who lives in the 200 block of College Drive, allegedly admitted to accepting $8,000 to grow marijuana at his property, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Josephine County Circuit Court records show he faces charges of unlawful manufacture of a marijuana item and unlawful possession of a marijuana item.

In a previous case, Hogue was arrested in June for allegedly writing checks that drew on his father’s account at U.S. Bank. However, his father died in 2001. The father’s account was overdrawn by more than $1,000 when Hogue was arrested, according to a probable cause affidavit in that case.

Hogue failed to appear in court on identity theft and first-degree theft charges, and a warrant was issued for his arrest, court records show.

Hadick, who lives at the other raided property on Pickett Creek Road west of Merlin, was allegedly found to be in possession of more than 2,000 marijuana plants and 10 pounds of marijuana, according to a probable cause affidavit.

She faces charges of unlawful manufacture of a marijuana item and unlawful possession of a marijuana item, court records show.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.