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OSP Traffic Stop Leads to 200 lbs. of Marijuana in Josephine County
11/05/2009
Sergeant Jim Johnson
Drug Enforcement Section
(541) 955-6379

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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A recent traffic stop by Oregon State Police troopers in southern Oregon started a chain of events following the discovery of one pound of marijuana and grew into an investigation by the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) team leading to the seizure of over 200 pounds of marijuana in Josephine County. Two of the three people are confirmed registered growers under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program and they were charged in relation to the ongoing investigation.
 
The investigation started with a traffic stop on October 29, 2009 at approximately 5:48 a.m. when an OSP trooper stopped a 2000 Honda Civic displaying Nevada license plates southbound on Interstate 5 near milepost 12 for a traffic violation. During the stop the trooper contacted a male driver, age 46, and female passenger, age 49, both from Las Vegas, Nevada.
 
A subsequent investigation, with the assistance of an OSP drug detection dog, led to the search of the vehicle and the discovery of approximately one pound of marijuana. The subjects admitted they purchased the marijuana from a location they believed to be used to grow medicinal marijuana. The marijuana was purchased with cash and labor they exchanged for pruning additional marijuana plants. Charges are pending against the two Nevada residents.
 
The RADE team was contacted for assistance and later that date identified the grow site location on Wilderville Lane in Grants Pass. A search warrant was executed at that location where detectives found evidence reflecting a large scale marijuana growing operation capable of producing hundreds of pounds of marijuana. Approximately 200 pounds of marijuana was seized.
 
Contacted at the residence and charged with controlled substance offenses were BRENDA THOMAS, age 43; SUSAN BRYANT, age 48; and, THOMAS BLETKO, age 50. Two of the three people were confirmed as registered growers under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program and admitted they were growing for thirteen "patients."
 
The legal amount of usable marijuana that can be possessed for 13 patients would total 19 1/2 pounds. The additional 180 pounds of marijuana conservative estimated at $2,500 per pound would be valued at $450,000.
 
RADE is an interagency narcotics team comprised of personnel from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, Oregon State Police, Josephine County Sheriff's Office, Josephine County District Attorney's Office, and the Josephine County Community Corrections. Also assisting in this investigation were detectives from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety and troopers from the Oregon State Police Drug Detection Canine program.
 
Anyone with information regarding suspicious drug activity or marijuana growing operations in Josephine County is encouraged to call the RADE tip line at (541) 955-6970.