Last week, local authorities found a massive illegal cannabis cultivation operation in southern Oregon in what local law enforcement called an unprecedented bust, according to High Times. Officers discovered the setup on Wednesday, October 6, near Klamath Falls, Oregon, where they supposedly stumbled upon a “27,000-square-foot potato shed” south of the town while responding to an unrelated emergency call nearby. As reported by the Herald and News, the potato shed was “filled with marijuana in various stages of processing: drying in giant strands that stretched from the roof to the floor, buds pruned and stuffed into 40-pound bags,” what looked like hundreds of cannabis pouches stacked against the walls, and an unthinkable amount of marijuana waste.
Authorities believe the value of the cannabis found inside the shed likely exceeds $100 million in street value. Herald and News wrote that Chris Klaber, Sheriff of Klamath County, Oregon, said “he had never seen anything like it in 30 years of police work” They added that the operation “wouldn’t have been found if a single car hadn’t thrown up enough dust that a neighbor mistook it for a wasp of smoke,” in reference to how the discovery was made in the first place. Spoiler alert: it was a huge coincidence.
Fire marshals and officers from Klamath County were responding to a call on October 6 about possible smoke in the area when deputies noticed a nearby building’s door open and an unprecedented amount of visible marijuana inside. Per the Associated Press (AP), the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office issued its search warrant the following day. Individuals were interviewed on the scene, but no arrests were made. According to the AP, the building contained cots where it’s assumed growers slept.
The Herald and News expressed that most of the people interviewed on the scene did not speak English “and many soon drifted from the scene.” Kaber told the publication that the “raid on the potato shed led detectives to two other grow operations that were linked to the processing facility, where they found more marijuana and processing equipment.” Apparently, all three locations “were linked by land ownership, lease agreements, and by heavy equipment rentals to multiple locations taken out under a single name.”
Kaber was also quoted saying, “I’ve had to completely readjust my sense of where we are in fighting illegal marijuana production in Klamath. I didn’t think we were this far behind.” He continued, “This really is – and I’ve said it before – organized criminal activity. This definitely fits the definition in Oregon of what organized criminal activity is.” This crime bust is the second most significant raid of a southern Oregon cannabis farm operation in the past few months. Recently, another Oregon raid yielded 6,000 pounds of illicit marijuana flower.