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One pleads guilty in six-person Southern Oregon pot robbery ring

With all these stories about hemp and cannabis this week, I’m wondering, what’s the latest on that ring of people accused of dressing up like police and robbing Southern Oregon growers?

— Archie, via email

We haven’t forgotten about that six-person ring of individuals arrested by federal agents at a Southern Oregon storage facility in July of last year in which the suspects were allegedly in possession of a pile of police disguises, firearms, zip ties and Army surplus handcuffs.

For those just tuning in, accused ringleader Shannon Christopher Harrop allegedly called the robbery technique “The Boys” with undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents who spent months pretending to be jilted pot growers conspiring with Harrop and other codefendants from California.

Federal prosecutors allege that Harrop is linked to several earlier Southern Oregon robberies, including one that culminated with a police chase across two counties.

One of those California co-defendants in the ring, Julius Diablo Franklin, pleaded guilty on July 15 to charges of conspiring to interfere with commerce by robbery and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

At the July 15 hearing, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken denied Franklin’s request for early release. Franklin will be sentenced on Oct. 21 in U.S. District Court in Medford.

The robbery conspiracy crime carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and the firearm possession charge carries a mandatory minimum five years in prison, according to the plea agreement signed by Franklin, his defense lawyer Devin Huseby and assistant U.S. Attorney Marco Boccato prosecuting the case.

In the plea agreement, Franklin admitted that he with Harrop, the undercover agents and others involved in the ring three times in July 2020, and that he helped plan the robbery of a purported 700 to 800 pounds of marijuana that would involve tactical gear, handguns and restraining the victims.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com.