APPLEGATE, Ore. — The recent dry spell which has led to dozens of lightning fires across the area, has also led to the discovery of an illegal marijuana grow site in the Applegate Valley. Smoke jumpers parachuting to fight the fires found themselves in the middle of the garden, which happens to be on US Forest Service land. This past Tuesday law enforcement raided the illegal Mexican National Drug Trafficking Organization site.
Officials say finding a marijuana grow site this early in the year is extremely rare, and most often individuals will stumble upon the gardens towards the end of the summer or beginning of fall. Two guns were seized among other evidence, and more than 1,500 plants were destroyed. Authorities say there were also hundreds of holes and water lines already prepared for planting.
The case currently remains under investigation. SOMMER, the Southern Oregon Multi-Agency Marijuana Eradication & Reclamation Task Force would like to remind people who are recreating outdoors to be aware of illegal marijuana grows. In most cases, individuals working on the sites have firearms on them.
Officials stress the financial asset these organizations see and that workers may take necessary measures to protect their assets. It is important to be cautious of your surroundings and take notice to any PVC piping or black poly-pipe, bags of fertilizer, large quantities of trash, or camp sites. These are all signs of a nearby growing site.
If you notice something suspicious, be sure to leave the way in which you came without lingering. If it is possible, try to take note of your exact location through GPS. Most importantly, contact your local Sheriff’s Office immediately.