3 tons of pot seized in drug raid at former egg farm
The former Willamette Egg Farm in Eagle Point, bought by a Texas investment group in 2016, was raided Tuesday by local law enforcement because of alleged ties to illegal marijuana sales and trafficking of methamphetamine, according to Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement.
The raid at 13003 Highway 62 and another Medford location netted three tons of processed and unprocessed marijuana, 1,000 grams of butane honey oil, 14 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, more than a pound of methamphetamine and $7,600 in cash, police said.
Clifton Dwight Crump, 51, of the 200 block of Reanna Way, was arrested on charges of delivery of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and manufacture, possession and delivery of marijuana. He is being held in Jackson County Jail on $1.04 million bail.
Crump was arrested after meeting undercover officers at a local motel, according to a MADGE release.
Benjamin McFarland, 32, was arrested after police found he had a warrant for his arrest. He also had meth in his possession and was a felon in possession of a handgun, the MADGE release alleges.
More arrests are expected as the investigation continues.
Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau, who heads MADGE, said an investigation determined marijuana was being shipped out of state in exchange for money.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg with illegal sales," Budreau said. "There's just more marijuana than people can consume."
MADGE, armed with search warrants, discovered marijuana being grown on three tax lots at the Highway 62 property, but only one of the lots was a licensed medical grow site. The other two were illegal grow sites.
The total amount of marijuana was well over the limits allowed under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, Budreau said.
Also, the marijuana production appeared to be transitioning from outdoor grows to indoors, he said.
After the raid, MADGE destroyed 239 marijuana plants.
Budreau said local police became aware of a problem when an eastern state intercepted a package of marijuana from the Eagle Point farm.
Budreau said an investigation determined that money was sent back to pay for the pot.
Packages are shipped in a variety of ways, which makes these type of investigations more difficult. "They're using planes, trains and automobiles," he said. "One of the obstacles we face is that they use falsified (return) addresses for shipping."
When MADGE raided the property, it discovered an enormous amount of marijuana being dried and processed, Budreau said. The processed marijuana appeared to be destined for both legal and illegal sales, and one of the labels stated "lemon kush," he said.
Investigators found packaging material and other evidence to support their suspicions of illegal sales, police said.
A large quantity of processed marijuana was also found at the Reanna Way property, Budreau said. Reanna Way is off Table Rock Road in north Medford. McFarland was the only person found at the Highway 62 property.
In February, the Mail Tribune went on the 78-acre property at 13003 Highway 62, owned by XP Investments LLC of Texas, which bought the four tax lots May 24, 2016, for $1.2 million, according to Jackson County records.
At the time, Crump, who was one of the investors, declined to be interviewed but did refute local rumors that famous singer Willie Nelson was behind the venture. A Nelson spokesman also refuted the rumors.
MADGE has been stepping up efforts to go after illegal marijuana grows in the valley to help stem the tide of black market sales in other states. In September, MADGE raided a house off West McAndrews Road in west Medford, seizing 180 pounds of unprocessed marijuana.
During the most recent raid, MADGE was assisted by SWAT teams from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and Medford police.
Budreau said that neither the Oregon Liquor Control Commission nor the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees the OMMP, has the manpower to adequately keep track of legal grow sites to see whether they are overproducing.
"A lot of people know there's not a lot of oversight and risk it," he said.
However, the OLCC plans to step up its enforcement activities next year when it opens a local office and hires Oregon State Police investigators.