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Cartel Grow Op Busted 

Over 9,000 cannabis plants, 2,800 pounds of marijuana seized at farm in Alfalfa, where cops say at least 10 people were working "involuntarily"

Cops confiscated a massive amount of marijuana and a handful of weapons from a 30-acre property in Alfalfa, east of Bend, that detectives say was operated by a Mexican drug cartel.

Detectives with the Deschutes County Illegal Marijuana Enforcement team concluded their long-term investigation into the property on Sept. 2, where they found over 9,000 marijuana plants in over 40 greenhouses, 2,800 pounds of processed marijuana, an AR-15 rifle and two pistols. Twenty-one people were detained and released at the scene and one was arrested but released with citations. A press release from the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office said, "Detectives expect arrests are forthcoming once additional follow-up investigations are complete."

Over 49 greenhouses containing over 9,000 marijuana plants at various growth stages, over 2,800 pounds of processed marijuana and three firearms were confiscated from a cartel-operated farm in Alfalfa, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office. - COURTESY DESCHUTES COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE
  • Courtesy Deschutes County Sheriffs Office
  • Over 49 greenhouses containing over 9,000 marijuana plants at various growth stages, over 2,800 pounds of processed marijuana and three firearms were confiscated from a cartel-operated farm in Alfalfa, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.

Police say most of the laborers at the site were Mexican nationals who were illegally trafficked into the United States to work in the illegal marijuana trade involuntarily.

"We identified 10 immigrants that made disclosures about their status in the U.S. Most were working at the operation to work off personal or family debts owed to a cartel in Jalisco, Mexico," said Sgt. Kent van der Kamp of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team in an email to the Source Weekly.

The Sheriff's Office noted that illegal marijuana grows can disrupt water sources for other neighbors.

"Since the beginning of DCIME, investigators have found illegal marijuana grows 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," a press release from the Sheriff's Department said. "This particular grow site used underground water and maintained a complex watering system that supplied several on-site 15,000-20,000 gallon cisterns."

DCSO also said the site was using pesticides that could threaten residential water supplies and that the electrical system was hazardously assembled in a way that made it susceptible to fire.

About The Author

Jack Harvel

Jack is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and has been making his way west since graduating from the University of Missouri, working a year and a half in Northeast Colorado before moving to Bend in the Spring of 2021. When not reporting he’s either playing folk songs (poorly) or grand strategy video games,...
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