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More than 250,000 pot plants seized in Rogue Valley raids

More than 52,000 plants were seized from two Jackson County properties June 10, according to Oregon State Police. Another 200,000 plants were seized from six Josephine County properties Thursday. [OSP photo]

More than a quarter-million allegedly illegal marijuana plants were seized and destroyed in the span of a week from eight properties across two Southern Oregon counties.

Oregon State Police’s Drug Enforcement Southwest Region marijuana team seized 52,804 plants June 10 that it said were part of a “substantial illegal-marijuana growing operation at adjoining properties outside Eagle Point,” according to a Thursday OSP Facebook post.

On Thursday, the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team seized more than 200,000 plants at six properties in Selma and Cave Junction ”as part of an investigation of illegal marijuana grow operations,“ according to a JMET press release.

Search warrants were served June 10 on adjoining properties in the 1500 block of Alta Vista Road and on the 700 block of Riley Road in Eagle Point, according to OSP.

OSP assisted Jackson County’s Marijuana Enforcement Team in the Eagle Point search, joined by JMET, the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement team, Jackson County Code Enforcement and the Oregon Water Resources Department District 13.

Between the two Jackson County properties, investigators searched 74 greenhouses, two barns and two outdoor growing areas, finding the 52,804 plants that police say were grown illegally.

One of the owners faces a potential $300,000 fine after Jackson County Code Enforcement cited them for greenhouse structures without a permit, and electrical installations within those greenhouses without a permit.

The Oregon Water Resources Department cited a property owner identified as Jerry Wetzel for “enlarging their existing water rights due to unapproved diversions of surface water,“ according to OSP.

Jackson County Circuit Court records show that Wetzel, of the 1500 block of Alta Vista Road, is not yet charged with a crime surrounding the raid, and that Wetzel has no prior felony convictions.

On June 17, JMET, IMET, RADE, OSP’s Southwest Regional Marijuana Team, Josephine County Code Enforcement and the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office searched six Josephine County properties.

In addition to the more than 200,000 marijuana plants, authorities seized as evidence numerous water pumps, generators and a tractor, according to police.

Although police detained and interviewed numerous subjects at the properties, no arrests had been made as of Friday.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.