On August 30, 2021, Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (BINET) obtained two search warrants for several large illegal marijuana growing operations in Beatty, Oregon. These two warrants were served simultaneously by members of BINET, Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and the Klamath Falls Police Department.
Both operations were purported to be “hemp” but none of the growing operation were licensed or permitted and on site testing during the search warrant services revealed the plants were high THC marijuana. Unlawful use of groundwater is also being investigated as part of the inquiry.
Between the two search warrant sites, the plants and illegal marijuana product from over 22,000 marijuana plants were destroyed by Klamath County bulldozer along with the greenhouses and plant propagation. Site cleanup was left as the responsibility of the landowners who leased their property to be used in illegal marijuana production.
This past session of the Oregon Legislature H.B. 3000 was passed and went into effect in July 2021. This updated existing statutes that allow law enforcement greater flexibility in destroying illegal grows. Under the previous statutes, taking down a grow of this size would have used a large amount of law enforcement personnel over a span of several days.
Criminal charges were referred to the Klamath County District Attorney’s Office for review.
Klamath County has a growing problem with large scale illegal marijuana grows. Local law enforcement agencies are working to focus enforcement on this growing problem in our county. Landowners should be aware that they could be held liable for the theft and unlawful use of groundwater, as well as the illegal marijuana production which occur on their leased properties. In addition property used for illegal
marijuana production could be seized and forfeited.
The Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team is comprised of detectives from the Klamath Falls Police Department and the Oregon State Police. BINET operates out of the Klamath Falls Police Department and works closely with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, Klamath County Parole and Probation, and DHS Child Welfare.
Anyone with information regarding the illegal manufacture or distribution of drugs within Klamath County is encouraged to call the Klamath Falls Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at (541) 883-5334 or the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at (541) 850-5380.