Detectives find 15 forced labor victims, cash and crops at Jackson Co. cannabis farm

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 6:22 PM PDT
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JACKSON COUNTY Ore. (KPTV) - Police searched a Jackson County black-market cannabis farm on Wednesday that detectives suspected of using forced labor, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Following a months-long investigation, a police tactical team and Homeland Security investigators served a search warrant on a grow and processing facility at the 6000 block of Carberry Creek Road near Applegate Lake in Jacksonville.

Investigators identified and interviewed 15 potential victims of forced labor trafficking. Investigates believe the workers were being paid inconsistent wages, some much lower than minimum wage, and provided substandard living and working conditions to process illegal cannabis.

Police seized and destroyed about 32,546 cannabis plants, 148,900 pounds of processed illegal cannabis and 6.6 pounds of concentrated cannabis oil.

They also seized $20,040 in cash, three firearms, a 2020 Dodge 3500, an industrial generator and one abandoned horse on the property.

UNETE Oregon, a center for farmworker advocacy, responded to assist the suspected forced labor victims and provide support services. The horse was turned over to a local equine rescue group.

The investigation into the primary suspects and drug trafficking organization is ongoing, police said.