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Southern Oregon 'inundated' with illegal marijuana grows, officials say

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Marijuana plant

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. -- Southern Oregon is inundated with large scale illegal marijuana grows, according to the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team (DINT).

"The scale of these operations is unlike anything we have ever seen before and they are destructive to our communities," officials said in a press release.

In the past week, the DINT has eradicated illegal marijuana from five sites and has made at least four arrests, officials said. More arrests are anticipated in connection to these cases.

Two sites were located on Raleigh Drive outside of Winston. 

In the 600 block of Raleigh Drive, officials say there was a property that had 18 greenhouses containing illegal marijuana plants. DINT eradicated 3,832 marijuana plants from the property, and seized several other items of evidence of criminal activity.  

In this case, DINT arrested Jesus Martinez-Munguia, 25, and Ezequiel Martinez-Garcia, 42. Both were lodged at the Douglas County Jail.

In the 500 block of Raleigh Drive, officials say DINT detectives found another illegal marijuana grow operation consisting of about 1,330 marijuana plants. Detectives arrested the property owner, Jackie Willis, 43. She was lodged at the Douglas County Jail.

In the 700 block of Buckhorn Road in Roseburg, detectives found and eradicated, 1,103 illegal marijuana plants. No arrests have been reported in this case at this time.

Two other illegal grows were located in Myrtle Creek, officials said. At a property in the 1200 block of N. Old Pacific Highway, they eradicated approximately 1,765 illegal marijuana plants.

The other grow was in the 1600 block of Weaver Road. In this case detectives eradicated 757 marijuana plants, and approximately 311 pounds of processed marijuana.

They found the suspects had been diverting large amounts of water from the adjacent BLM land, officials said. They discovered an area on the BLM land where a creek had been impounded to collect water, and that water was run through pipes a great distance to the marijuana growing operation.

Detectives also seized a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle from the residence. They checked the serial number which revealed the rifle had been reported stolen out of San Joaquin County, California.

Arturo Perez-Aguilar, 35, was arrested and lodged at the Douglas County Jail.

"These operations are most often run and controlled by multinational criminal organizations with only profit in mind," officials said in the news release. "They pay no regard to our local resources, rules, laws, or ethics.  They often do vast amounts of damage to our natural resources, and damage our streams and rivers by dumping garbage, toxic chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides), and human feces."

Officials are also concerned about water usage, saying these operations are often illegally take water from wells and rivers. They say it is common to see them illegally damming small streams to impound water for their own use.

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