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Shots fired in robbery attempt at former hemp site

Suspects pretended to be law enforcement; two arrested, two remain at large

At least four armed men pretending to be police tried to rob a former hemp farm at about 1:30 a.m. Friday in the 3600 block of Bellinger Lane outside Medford, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Police said the suspects arrived at the property claiming to be law enforcement agents serving a warrant. Residents of the property confronted the suspects and fired several shots as they fled, according to the sheriff’s office. It was unknown whether the suspects fired any shots.

Deputies saw the suspected getaway driver, Derek Whitfield Gargus, 36, of the 100 block of Huntley Lane, Phoenix, leaving the property at a high rate of speed. He was taken into custody.

Another suspect, Ryan Mitchell Drennen, 44, was found in a nearby pond where he had apparently fallen while running in the dark. He was taken into custody and transported to an area hospital to be treated for hypothermia.

Two other suspects are still at large.

Gargus was arrested for first-degree robbery, second-degree robbery, reckless driving and driving without a valid license. He is being held in the Jackson County Jail.

Drennen was arrested for attempted first-degree robbery, trespassing while in possession of a firearm, and criminal impersonation of a peace officer. He was released on bail.

Anyone with information pertaining to the whereabouts of the two outstanding suspects was asked to call emergency dispatch at 541-776-7206. Refer to JCSO case number 22-0487.