CrimeNews

Eugene police bust pot-growing operation



The Eugene Police Department broke up a “sizable” marijuana-growing operation 20 miles southwest of Eugene on Thursday.

Police began canvassing the four-acre property in Lorane on Friday, cutting down 48 marijuana plants that stood eight to 10 feet tall and 10 feet in diameter.

While the street value of the marijuana is still being calculated, Capt. Chuck Tilby estimated the number would be six digits.

EPD detectives have been receiving information about the extensive growing operation since August, when they identified the operation “as a sizable marijuana grow.”

Tilby said over the last few months, detectives discovered the growers were purchasing commercial fertilizers and ingredients to enhance the growing operation, “which of course heightened our suspicion.”

Police found 10 people at the location. Tilby said the people on site were interviewed and have been released, resulting in no arrests. Police believe some of those detained worked at the facility.

“The people you want to arrest are those who are most criminally culpable,” Tilby said. “That takes some investigating … we want to make sure we get the right people.”

EPD spokesperson Melinda Kletzok said 23-year-old Leland Ryan Tracey of Eugene has been identified as the person renting the property, but it is still unclear whether he had a leading role in the marijuana operation.

While searching the location, detectives also seized guns, crossbows and baseball bats that police believe were being used as defensive weapons.

Tilby said has not seen an operation like this “in a long time,” since larger operations like this one are more common in more rural parts of the state.

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