Prineville couple, Herbology owners arrested for illegal marijuana grows
A Prineville couple and owners of a local business were arrested following a long-term investigation in illegal marijuana grows in Crook County.
On Wednesday, May 11, detectives with the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team concluded a long-term investigation involving illicit indoor marijuana growing operations at several locations around Crook County. The investigation alleges a Prineville couple was selling black market marijuana products outside of Oregon and from Herbology, a retail nursery supply store in northeast Prineville that is not licensed to sell, export or grow cannabis.
At approximately 11 a.m. on Wednesday, CODE detectives, with the assistance of the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team (CERT), executed multiple search warrants on the home of Robert and Fawn Griffin (ages 48 and 46, both of Prineville), a commercial indoor growing facility and their retail store. As a result, detectives located approximately 1,880 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, 168 pounds of processed marijuana, more than $20,000 in cash, three rifles and two pistols. Detectives also discovered a complex money laundering scheme involving real estate and structured banking transactions.
Both suspects were detained by the CERT team and later arrested by detectives at the scene.
CODE officials point out that the possession of small amounts of marijuana is legal for recreational use in Oregon, but large, unlicensed marijuana operations remain illegal. Due to these unregulated operations, authorities said they pose dangers to the public and the environment.
Authorities added that the Griffins' commercial-grown operation is located in the Juniper Canyon area, where most of the residents are dependent on the ground or well water for their households. They pointed out that Crook County is facing extreme drought conditions that limit consistent groundwater sources, and that investigators have found illegal marijuana grows that have diverted or stolen significant water from nearby homes, commercial farms or directly from pumps connected to underground sources in the arid Central Oregon high desert. They said this particular grow site used underground well water and maintained a complex watering system that supplied marijuana production.
CODE went on to note that illegal marijuana farms often use pesticides and insecticides that threaten residential water supplies and endanger the end user.
At the conclusion of the investigation, both Griffins were arrested and lodged with the Crook County Sheriff's Jail with charges of unlawful delivery, manufacture and possession of marijuana. Robert was also charged with felon in possession of a firearm. Additional charges are expected as the investigation continues.
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