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Deputies find bags full of processed marijuana after responding to crash near Merlin

A vehicle abandoned after a crash was full of about 380 pounds of marijuana, according to the Josephine County Sheriff's Office.

Posted: Sep 21, 2021 4:28 PM
Updated: Sep 21, 2021 5:48 PM

MERLIN, Ore. — Deputies responding to reports of a single-vehicle crash near Merlin on Sunday arrived to find the car abandoned and stuffed full of bagged marijuana, according to the Josephine County Sheriff's Office.

The crash reported came from the intersection of Camp Joy Road and Saratoga Way. Witnesses told deputies that two men had fled the scene before officers arrived, and the vehicle was left unoccupied.

Looking over the vehicle, deputies found several bullet holes that had penetrated the cab. Also "in plain sight within the vehicle," deputies reported seeing guns and a large quantity of processed and packaged marijuana.

JCSO seized the vehicle and obtained a search warrant. Inside of the vehicle they found two guns and about 380 pounds of processed, packaged marijuana that the agency estimated had street value of $760,000.

"If you have information regarding this incident or wish to claim the firearms and marijuana, please contact the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and we will gladly assist you," the agency said.

The Josephine County Sheriff's Office has ramped up its efforts to crack down on unlicensed marijuana grow operations in the area lately, reporting another raid on Tuesday just east of I-5 near the Pleasant Valley area. There was no indication that this grow was connected to the crash on Sunday.

According to the Sheriff's Office, this grow was operating at the former site of Red Mountain Golf Course in the 300-block of Mountain Greens Lane. During the execution of the search warrant, officers seized and destroyed 4,537 marijuana plants.

Two people were arrested in Tuesday's raid, 34-year-old Chen Shu-Momg and 36-year-old Qike Wen. Both face charges for unlawful manufacture of marijuana. Five other people were detained due to "safety concerns."

Investigations into both the crash and the grow site are ongoing.

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