Dave Lewis Ashland Oregon

Hyatt Lake Oregon Murder of Dave Lewis

How Much Marijuana Did xx-sheriff Mike Winters Eradicate ? Over a 12 Year Period of Time ?

 

 Image result for dave lewis murder

Mike Winters needs to be thoroughly investigated for the discrepancies in the 12 year marijuana eradication program.$$$

 

 

 

 

" A  'grow' refers to an illegal marijuana patch."

 Jackson County Oregon then-shriff- Mike Winters Reported Zero Pot Pulled Plants or Gardens  2008:

In one report. #245 in another. #0 or #245

The Year Dave Lewis was murdered and burned beyond all human recognition.

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 Image result for dave lewis murder

 Burl Brim junior needs to be polygraphed regarding the 12 year marijuana eradication program. 

Brim junior was paid by his friend Mike Winters  for all kinds of questionable expenses.

Plus; when did Winters know about Brim's sexual proclivities & extra-marital relationship while married ?  Truth up.

 

 

" After a big eradication push in 2007 — yanking out 53,899 plants — Jackson County found no growing operations in 2008, but then saw 30,971 plants removed in 2009.  Douglas County found nearly 10,000 pot plants in 2008.

“The big numbers kind of flip-flop,” Carlson said"

(what does she know anyway? Beside getting her job, unethically and possibly illegally. Not following legal hiring protocol.)

  - - -

 ONE REPORT SAID ZERO PULLS.

 

 

  And yet another  " report" stated: A whopping  245 total:

 

CLEARING OUT PLANTS PULLED JACKSON COUNTY:

2007-2008 = 49,244 total pulled

2008 =                    .245 total

2009-2010= 30,784 expected

2010-2011 = 30,000 projected

  - -

 

 

 WHO COUNTED ???

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                                                          Mike Winters                                           Tim Evinger

                                                                                                     REP. Walden

WHO COUNTED ???

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 Geo Street    HYATT LAKE OREGON AND THE                SUGAR Rod NYGREN        DAVE

POT ERADICATIONS HYATT LAKE & BEYOND $ WAY

 

 

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Shasta County agencies launch operation to eradicate marijuana

www.redding.com/news/weed-whackers
... marijuana garden on ... marijuana eradication operation in Shasta County, ...

Federal money granted for marijuana eradication | Politics ...

www.krcrtv.com › News › Politics
The use of federal grant money for marijuana eradication was approved Tuesday by the Shasta County ... for marijuana eradication

Supervisors Approve Helicopter Contracts For Marijuana ...

www.420magazine.com › … › 420 NEWS › International Cannabis News
Rushing asked at what point it was appropriate to discuss the county's overall marijuana eradication ...  contracts for sheriff's marijuana ...

Shasta County officials see pot gardens; flight last week ...

www.redding.com/news/county-officials-see-pot-gardens
Shasta County showed him how ... of the Sheriff's Office's marijuana eradication team ... rural Shasta County, ...

Siskiyou 'Weed Country' - News - Siskiyou Daily News ...

www.siskiyoudaily.com/article/20130215/NEWS/130219861
... cities in Siskiyou County ... the county’s Marijuana Eradication ... seeking approval of a contract between the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s ...

Shasta County Officials See Pot Gardens; Flight Last Week ...

www.420magazine.com › … › 420 NEWS › International Cannabis News
  • Last updated: Aug 26, 2011 ·
  • 2 posts ·
  • First post: Aug 25, 2011
Sheriff's Office's marijuana eradication team ... marijuana growth in the county will ...

Keeping the Pressure on Pot - WSJ

online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703648304575212382612331758
Jul 03, 2010 · ... Shasta County stepping up spending on marijuana searches even ... eradication team of the Shasta County

Blackwater-type Mercenaries Drop from Unmarked Helicopters ...

www.activistpost.com/2014/09/blackwater-type-mercenaries-drop-from...
Sep 13, 2014 · ... here in Shasta County. ... the Fish and Wildlife Marijuana Eradication ... Raid Legal Marijuana Gardens ...

 

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 OVER 50 ARTICLES ON POT ERADICATIONS.

 

 

TIP OF THE ICEBERG TROUBLE. CLICK ON THE LINKS:

 

 

 http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20100825/NEWS/8250324

 

http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20100825/NEWS/8250324

 

 

 

 

 

ALL THOSE YEARS OF ERADS. BILLIONS. BILLIONS.

 

 

 

12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. Police pull more Siskiyou pot - 09-11-2009
Siskiyou County authorities pulled 39,115 marijuana plants from the Rainbow Ridge area near Lake Siskiyou on Thursday, but four suspected growers spotted in the woods escaped arrest, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department reported today. Eight gardens were found scattered throughout the brush and...

 

 

 

 

 

MARIUJANA GREEN BUD AND ALL THOSE BUSTS

 

 

 

32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.

 

 

 

COMMISSIONER RACHOR DRIVING AROUND POT ERADICATION TRUCKS TOO (HELPING OUT)

 

" Jackson County Commissioner John Rachor is troubled by the thought of the abandoned marijuana gardens dotting the forestlands.
"I helped out by driving a dump truck to haul out the marijuana at some of these places," he said. "I've seen what they look like and it isn't pretty."
Rachor reached out to a local environmental group looking to put together cleanup teams that would hike into the remote campsite to haul out cartel garbage."

  - - -

 

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 WHO COUNTED ??? WHO VETTED???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Winters Reported Zero Pot In Jackson County 2008, the Year Dave Lewis was violently killed&burned.

 

 

 Called himself ZEBRA ONE and ROUGH RIDER 56: 

Bad Sheriff Mike Winters and his wasteful pulls. Or not.

 
August 06, 2007
Anita Burke
MIGHT WANT TO CHECK THOSE NUMBERS AND STATISTICS...

" The Jackson County Sheriff's Department spent more than $99,000 last year to search for and pull out marijuana plants.

Aerial surveillance using helicopters accounted for the bulk of the spending, but federal funds covered about two-thirds of the total cost, Sheriff Mike Winters said. The county's eradication efforts netted 44,168 plants here and another 20,000 on a trip to help the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department, Winters reported.

Marijuana eradication spending:

Aerial surveillance: $61,080

Overtime: $35,430

Food and supplies: $2,660

Funding sources:

Bureau of Land Management marijuana eradication contract: $30,000

U.S. Department of Justice eradication program: $40,000

County general fund budget for sheriff's department: $29,170

He estimated the marijuana removed could have had a retail street value of up to $320 million.

No arrests were made during last summer's eradication campaign in Jackson County, but federal investigations into the operations are continuing, Winters said.

The large marijuana gardens that authorities targeted in August and September 2006 likely were the work of cartels, Winters said.

"This is a big cash crop, and there's lots of money in it," he said. "If we can take the cash out of a business, that hurts."

Getting rid of plants is an increasingly important strategy to disrupt the illicit drug market, according to The President's National Drug Control Strategy released in February by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

"Federal, state and local authorities will continue to focus on the disruption of both indoor and outdoor marijuana production, both to discourage its production and use and to prevent traffickers from benefiting from what remains the most lucrative crop in the drug trafficker's illegal product line," the strategy document said.

The drug control policy office and the Drug Enforcement Administration have "shifted funding priorities to counter growing operations" in seven states, including Oregon, that authorities have identified as the top marijuana-growing states, the document said.

The top seven states — California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia — destroyed more than 5.5 million marijuana plants in 2006, while the rest of the country removed an additional 770,000 plants, the strategy document reported.

The DEA office in Seattle oversees Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, and Special Agent Matt Duran is a coordinator of the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, DEA's effort to target, disrupt, and dismantle large-scale domestic marijuana-growing operations.

Duran said that while ongoing investigations into drug-growing operations are important, they are difficult in the remote forests that growers favor, so removing plants is a key to blocking such organizations.

"We have limited tools and the helicopter and spotter is the best tool," he said.

Jackson County's eradication efforts in August 2006 cost $3,275 in overtime for deputies and $8,200 for aerial surveillance. In September 2006, the spending on eradication included $32,160 in overtime, $52,880 for aerial surveillance and $2,660 for food and supplies, Winters reported.

"We spend this money just a few months out of the year," he said of the $99,170 total.

For fiscal year 2006-07, the sheriff's budget was $25.7 million for a department that operates the county jail and provides routine patrols and crime investigations across the county.

The sheriff's department has a $30,000 contract with the Bureau of Land Management to eradicate marijuana and got $40,000 through a U.S. Department of Justice eradication program. Just $29,170 came from the department's general fund budget.

"Jackson County should be proud," Winters said. "We did a good job and will continue to."

He also noted that his department got "a lot of help" from other agencies, including Josephine, Siskiyou and Douglas county sheriff's offices, Klamath Falls police, the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service, the Oregon State Police, the DEA and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Winters said he didn't know the expenses for other agencies to help out here as law enforcement agrees to help across jurisdictions and doesn't bill for such services.

"If we don't want this in the region, we have to eradicate it one area at a time," he said, adding that he will help neighboring counties if they ask.

Winters said he hopes the aggressive removal of plants last year will discourage growing operations here this year.

"I think we will see the number of plants seized go down here," Winters said. "I think they will look for places with less law enforcement."

DEA Special Agent Duran said that in his seven years overseeing cannabis-eradication projects, he has seen aggressive plant removal dissuade growers.

"Over the years, if one county has a significant problem and hits it hard, often they don't come back," he said.

"Everybody needs to work together," he continued. "Together we are stronger."

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 Commissioner  John Rachor " helped out" by driving dump trucks of bud, too.

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..look at the differences in yearly eradication; apparently a tough year 2008, the year Dave died:
 
 

CLEARING OUT PLANTS PULLED JACKSON COUNTY:

2007-2008 = 49,244 total pulled

2008 =                    245 total

2009-2010= 30,784 expected

2010-2011 = 30,000 projected

 

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 2008... no pot pulls reported in Jackson County Oregon, the year Dave Lewis was killed. ZERO.

 

 " He said it the way it was, it was the way he said. "

 

 

600-K to Eradicate 283 Million in Green Bud.

 

 

High times: Police harvest $283 million in marijuana

November 24, 2010 09:00 am
 
 
 
 
A law enforcement officer uses a large machete to cut pot plants growing in the mountains of the Pistol River area during a raid in September. 
In Southern Oregon this year, sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement officers teamed up to remove and destroy 125,787 marijuana plants worth an estimated $283 million.
Most of it came from Josephine, Jackson and Curry counties.
“As you can see, southern Oregon is the hot spot, with Curry and Josephine being the top spots,” Curry County Sheriff John Bishop said.
“With all of us coming together and pooling our resources, we could show the cartel groups we are here,” he said Tuesday. “We were fairly effective in getting rid of them.”
The Oregon Department of Justice has reported that 184,015 marijuana plants were seized by law enforcment agencies statewide during 2010. Nearly 70 percent came from federal and private forest lands in the seven counties that make up the Southern Oregon Multi-Agency Marijuana Eradication and Reclamation (SOMMER) area of operations.
Of the 31 grow sites found this year, 21 were in Josephine County, seven in Jackson County and three in Curry County, said Andrea Carlson, spokeswoman for SOMMER.
Carlson said all of the participating counties also have independent drug teams that handled their own investigations of small growing operations and out-of-compliance medical marijuana patches.
Bishop said the three Curry County sites could actually be counted as four.
The biggest Curry County grows were destroyed within a week in September — one on Forest Service and private land eight miles up the Pistol River drainage, and the other in a canyon near Mount Emily off Forest Service Road 1107.
Bishop said the Pistol River site was a collection of 10 to 12 small gardens with an estimated 10,000 plants.
“This is the most plants I’ve seen in my career,” Bishop said.
A team of about 25 officers from Coos, Curry and Jackson counties descended on the garden. Bishop called in members of his department including those from the jail, probation and patrol divisions.
The next week, officers removed 583 marijuana plants from the Mount Emily sites.
“We couldn’t fly in. We had to hike in,” the sheriff said. “We had to hike about six hours into the canyon to get to the grow site.”
He said Coos County sent 10 deputies and Curry County supplied 12.
“We had 22 people working on this, including volunteers, jail staff, parole and probation and patrol,” Bishop said. “It was a 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. job — a 13-hour job.”
Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a 20-year-old Mexican man, Itali Arellano-Vargas, on Aug. 11 in a marijuana garden on remote Bureau of Land Management property in the Salt Creek area of northern Jackson County.
Investigators suspect most of the marijuana removed by SOMMER was guarded by members of Hispanic drug-trafficking organizations. The Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center reported in its 2010 National Drug Threat Assessment that Mexican drug-trafficking organizations dominate illegal drug wholesaling in the United States.
Officials reported that two Curry County sites raided by SOMMER this year were tended by Hmong groups.
 
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said that in this region, Hmong groups grow marijuana in Del Norte and Curry counties but haven’t spread eastward.
Bishop said there were actually two grow sites in the Pistol River area and in the Mount Emily area. Those at Pistol River were definitely Mexican cartel, he said.
“We suspect those at Mount Emily were Hmong,” he said.
Winters said the SOMMER raids this summer cost about $600,000, with federal funding covering most of it.
 
Carlson said that 23 suspects, mostly arrested in Josephine County, are currently in custody with pending federal and state charges. She said that several other suspects not already in custody have been identified.
 
The 2010 season initiated the collaborative efforts toward eradicating illegal marijuana grows, Carlson said.
She said 13 agencies are involved in SOMMER. It operates in the seven southern Oregon counties of: Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake. "
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mike Winters & the Ruination of Hyatt Lake.

 

 Shangra-La No More.

 

Who Counted? So they Watched em Grow.

Stupid is as Stupid does. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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Sheriff's deputies raid 2,500-plant pot patch
 
 
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In a large raid preceding the harvest season, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department has seized 2,500 marijuana plants with a street value estimated at up to $12.5 million.
Two men found at the scattered gardens near Hyatt Lake on Monday remain in Jackson County Jail on immigration holds and the investigation is continuing, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said.
Officials had watched the growing operation, believed to be linked to a Mexican drug cartel, and swept in Monday to destroy it just before harvest time, sheriff's Lt. Pat Rowland said.


SWAT teams from Jackson and Douglas counties and Oregon State Police, along with officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted Monday's raid.

 
The SWAT teams detained two armed Hispanic men found at the gardens. Rafael Santoya-Pineda, no age or address listed, and Noel Tadia-Arreguin, no age or address listed, both are being held at the Jackson County Jail on immigration holds, officials said.


Investigators pulled out the plants, hoisted them in nets with a helicopter and filled a 10-yard dump truck. The plants were taken to a mill and burned, Winters said. Evidence also was collected at the scene during the day-long police effort.


The plants, each 4 to 6 feet tall, grew in scattered gardens on three acres of Bureau of Land Management property near Hyatt Lake, Winters said. Plants of that size can produce about a pound of marijuana, which would have a value of around $5,000 on the street at the retail level, he said.


"This is a serious business and people need to be careful in the woods," Winters said.

 
With the marijuana harvest season approaching and bow hunting season just around the corner, the sheriff worries about possible conflicts between people enjoying the forests legally and those using public and private forest lands for illegal endeavors.

 
Law enforcement officials have prepared a pamphlet warning that large growing operations are becoming more prevalent and can be booby-trapped. Authorities have found guns, explosive devices and aggressive defenses such as barbed wire fences, look-out stands in trees, fish hooks hung at eye level and pits filled with sharpened stakes at such operations, the pamphlet said.

 
The pamphlet advises hunters and hikers to watch out for irrigation systems or other evidence of cultivation such as garden tools or bags of fertilizer in the woods, isolated camps in areas far from recreation areas, and camouflage tarps or mesh coverings.

 
People who spot such evidence should leave immediately, backing down the path they came in on if necessary, and contact law enforcement, Winters said

 
- - - - -
Mexican mafia loses 3,600 pot plants to Sheriff Mike Winters
 
 
By Robert Plain,Ashland Daily Tidings
 Posted: 2:00 AM August 26, 2006

 

 

" The Jackson County Sheriff's Department discovered three large marijuana patches east of the Greensprings on Friday.

There were 3,600 pot plants in three locations on Bureau of Land Management property about two miles south from Highway 66 in Lincoln.

Sheriff Mike Winters believes the grow he and his deputies found on Friday was planted by the same Mexican drug cartel that planted the one he found on Monday near Hyatt Lake.

"I think we'll find a connection," he said, as a helicopter hauled a net full of marijuana plants from deep in the woods to a nearby dump truck parked near the road. "We can't allow these drug cartels to get a foothold here. I won't stop until I can get every marijuana plant out of this county, especially cartel-related."

Winters said local marijuana cultivation has been taken to a new high in the last three years because of what is known as the Mexican mafia.

In the old days 900 plants would have been a giant marijuana plantation for Jackson County. With the onset of the Mexican mafia, netting thousands of plants is becoming more common.

"It just wasn't as big a business," Winters said. "You don't get local grows with this kind of size."

In 2005, Jackson County worked with Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department to find one pot plantation with some 30,000 plants near Hornbrook, Calif., that was tied to the Mexican mafia. In Jackson County alone last season, Winters found more than 20,000 marijuana plants. He expects to find more than that before the harvest is over this year.

"It's a ripple effect coming up from California," Winters said. He explained that the Mexican drug cartel has operated in Northern California for years and is increasingly moving north to Oregon and Washington. "They're testing us to see what we'll do. If we let them get away with this, they'll come back next year two or three times as big."

Southern Oregon would be an ideal place for the cartel to set up shop, Winters said, because of the area's near-perfect growing conditions.

"It's a good growing area," he said. "There is lots of water, lots of sunshine. The weather is right for it."

With the street value of the pot he found on Friday being more than $20 million, and the one on Monday being valued at $12.5 million, Jackson County Sheriff's have already deprived the cartel of more than $30 million this season.

"We're taking money out of someone's pocket," Winters said, noting that he is not done yet. "I wouldn't be surprised if there is in excess of 10 to 15 more in this size range out there."

Mexican drug cartels also add an element of danger to area forests. Winters said there are often armed guards that patrol the patches during the growing season.

At the grow found on Monday, two Mexican men were caught. They are currently being held by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The men had three guns on them: A 12-gauge shotgun, a 9 mm pistol and a .22 long rifle. The latter, Winters believes, was used for animal poaching to feed the growers over the season. The two other guns, he said, were for defense.

"Folks who recreate in the woods and hunters need to be extremely careful in the woods this time of year," he said. Bow hunting season starts today.

Last year, Jackson County sheriffs stumbled upon a grow operation that was "booby trapped," Winters said. There was a large pit dug on the way into the grow that was covered with brush. The bottom of the pit was lined with "sharp sticks" standing on end.

Winters said these are much different marijuana gardens than those first planted by the hippie influx of the 60s and 70s. With the Mexican mafia, Winters said, "the marijuana, the cocaine and the meth are all connected. Green dope, white dope, they don't care. They move drugs. That's what they do."

The cartels station people in the forest with the pot plants for the duration of the season. They survive by hunting and through food drops, according to Winters.

"A supply guy goes to a local store and buys a trunkload of food and drops it off for the people working the gardens," he said. "These guys live in the garden for the growing season."

The illegal marijuana plants are then tended much like a tradition farm. Irrigation systems are devised by diverting water from nearby springs or creeks. In Friday's case, the growers dug 4'X7' retaining ponds to hold water from the winter run-off. Black plastic irrigation pipes were also run from Lincoln Creek to the plants.

Though no people were arrested on Friday, Winters feels he just missed nabbing someone. "We found the first one early [Friday] morning," he said. "I think the growers were at the other camp and fled when they heard the helicopter."

At the camp police found a cook stove with hard-boiled eggs still in a pan and several bottles of tequila. "That was surprising because they are normally pretty disciplined about not having fires," Sgt. Jeremy Whipple said, who was one of the first men on the ground at Friday's bust.

Dressed in full camouflage, including face paint, he said law enforcement officers are very careful about entering the guerilla plantations.

"SWAT teams move through the woods to make sure the area is safe," Winters said. "They make sure there are no booby traps or armed guards."

Then an evidence team goes through and photographs the plantation. Finally, an eradication team uproots the plants, piles them up and loads them into the helicopter's net.

To do all of this took more than 70 law enforcement officers on Friday and the better part of the day.

The dump truck was escorted by two police cars and taken to a "local mill" where the seized plants will be incinerated. He wouldn't be specific about where this would occur.

The driver of the truck said he wasn't afraid to transport the seized pot, because police assured him that the cartel leaders are never in the vicinity of the grow operation itself.

Though Winters was visibly pleased with Friday's bust, there are still pieces of the investigation to put together. For example, Winters still doesn't know where the cartel could be curing and processing their product. He suspects they could be using the Lincoln air strip to fly the finished marijuana out of the area.

However, he added, that "specific pieces of the puzzle" are slowly but surely coming together. ""Later in the year I'll be able to go into more detail."

 

                                POT SHANGRA-LA NO MORE.

             The True Lore of the Dead Indian Road and Hyatt Lake Oregon. Watch & See. 

 

Search & Destroy Mission 4 Illegal pot Falters in Oregon

 

 

Search-and-destroy missions for illegal pot falter in Oregon

 

 

1
A counterdrug pilot working with Oregon State Police lifts the nose of her National Guard Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopter to climb over a northeastern Oregon ridgeline while searching for illegal pot gardens

 

 

 A pile of trash includes plastic irrigation pipe and 54-pound bags labeled "Powerline 16-16-16 fertilizer" at an illegal pot grow in Wallowa County. Police removed or destroyed 91,000 marijuana plants, ranging from seedlings to 10 inches tall, in the June 2011 raid.

 

 

 

 

Oregon is poised to become the first in a group of key battleground marijuana states to exit a nationwide program designed to discover and destroy black-market pot plantations. 

The move follows Oregon's first year of recreational marijuana sales and a thriving industry with legal marijuana farms stretching from the coast to the Idaho border.

Money for the eradication effort in Oregon has dropped by nearly three-quarters in the last year to $200,000, by far the largest percentage cut in the country, financial data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration shows.

That's on top of steady cuts over the past three fiscal years that add up to an overall 80 percent decline.

To the north, another well-established hot spot for illegal pot grows is taking a different approach. Washington has generally kept its Drug Enforcement Administration money intact since legalizing recreational marijuana. It's dropped only about 30 percent over three years, down to $760,000 this year.

But with no one strongly advocating for it, the program in Oregon appears headed for the chopping block.

"If you look at a graph and see how steeply the budget trends down, I'd imagine it's very possible we won't get funding for this next year," said State Police Capt. Bill Fugate, whose agency has been one of the program's main financial beneficiaries. 

Police and sheriff's offices typically use the money on equipment, training and helicopters based on allocations largely established through state requests.

The Oregon Department of Justice passed oversight of the program – making the funding requests and doling out money to local agencies – to the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association this year.

That association sees it as an unwanted burden.

"They must've caught me at a weak moment when they asked us to take it over," said retired Curry County Sheriff John Bishop, executive director of the nonprofit group that provides administrative help to sheriffs. "We're not even going to run it next year. ... I don't know who will yet. No one's figured that out."

Discussions begin in January over who will take it on, he said. He wouldn't speculate on who's in the mix.

It's possible the state could step in with money, but there's no question that the focus has shifted.

"The problem is the way the program utilizes funds from DEA, it doesn't have a good match with our regulatory scheme," said Jeffrey Rhoades, senior adviser on marijuana policy to Gov. Kate Brown and a longtime prosecutor.

"That's not to say we've beaten the black market," Rhoades said. "The main point is, in this new legal market, we need to adjust our thinking in how we conduct these kind of operations."

***

Oregon entered an exclusive club a decade ago: part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's "M7" – seven states identified as primary marijuana cultivators. The others were California, Washington, Hawaii, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. The federal government has spent roughly $18 million annually – mostly in the M7 states -- to focus on eradication.

And it appeared to return dividends – Oregon authorities pulled up or burned an average of 100,000 plants a year when the money started coming in.

But in 2012, discoveries plummeted to 33,000 plants a year, and that level has held steady since then. Washington experienced a similar nose-dive.

Neither state remains in the M7.

The Northwest states are now closer to Colorado, where major marijuana grows historically haven't been as common and which stopped receiving federal marijuana eradication funds in 2015.

Using state money, Colorado found about 27,000 plants last year, not far from its annual average over the past five years.

Fugate imagines this will play out in Oregon as well.

"Let's say DEA money goes away completely," he said. "We're not going to get out of the business. There are four stages to this game: detection, investigation, eradication, and apprehension (of growers). Funding cuts will mostly take away the detection aspect. And we will be spending more state money than we have in the past."

The Governor's Office agrees the program will continue, federal money or not.

Rhoades said Mexican drug cartels are still a concern and search-and-destroy operations are important for fostering a "good business climate" for marijuana shops in Oregon, mainly by suppressing the black market.

"But that's only one tool in the tool belt," he said. "We're going to start being smarter about this."

***

The Drug Enforcement Administration program itself has come under fire from national marijuana reform advocates.

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., recently led a push in the House to drastically reduce the program's budget. While it didn't make it into the final budget, he said success is inevitable, given the shifting national sentiment. As California and other states legalize recreational marijuana use this year, "they should follow Oregon's example," Lieu said.

"This is one of the stupidest programs we have in the federal government," he said. "In a world of limited resources, funds would be far better spent fighting drugs like opioids. I understand why law enforcement would want a continued stream of funding from the DEA, but we can also get law enforcement to accept that funding to go somewhere else."

But the budget cuts in Oregon aren't entirely by choice. While the state requested much less this year than previous years under the program, Bishop noted that it received still less than that — $200,000 in response to a $400,000 request.

"A lot of us speculate that we're being punished, but we don't know," Bishop said. "It's total speculation. We're not hearing anything from the feds."

A spokesman with the Drug Enforcement Administration said the agency declined comment.

***

The dwindling money in Oregon worries Washington State Patrol Lt. Chris Sweet, who oversees the marijuana eradication program there. Oregon authorities often partner with his agency on marijuana operations.

Mexican drug cartels, Sweet said, could see Oregon's lack of Drug Enforcement Administration money as a business opportunity. He cited a spike in armed guards at grow operations as evidence Mexican gangs are reasserting themselves in the region.

"These international cartels are watching public opinion, watching for which states won't have the resources to fight them," he said.

Bishop, the Oregon sheriffs' group leader, agreed that police are seeing "way more" armed guards at grow operations recently. What's more, a crop of over 6,500 plants connected to Mexican cartels was discovered 35 miles south of Portland in June, near the Willamette River, the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office reported.

But Bishop doesn't subscribe to the theory that Mexican gangs may decide to grow more pot in the state.

"If you have a lawn and it's a beautiful lawn and moss keeps creeping into it, it'll continue to grow," he said. "But why wouldn't they just go indoors and do it legally? It's really easy now. That makes more sense."

Portland-based attorney Bear Wilner-Nugent, who focuses on marijuana law, called Sweet's concerns unfounded.

"Say what you will about the moral standing of Mexican drug cartels, but they're every bit as likely to be thoughtful and intelligent as other businesspeople," he said. "They're going to slice the pie more thinly, and focus on where they don't have competition with hundreds of legal businesses. Obviously that's meth, heroin, and cocaine in Oregon."

 -- Drew Atkins

Special to The Oregonian/OregonLive

***

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified the agency that oversaw the eradication program in Oregon

 

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 ZERO POT PULLS THE YEAR DAVE LEWIS WAS MURDERED - -- -

 

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 Where Mike Winters put money, manpower, interest...in pot pulls...

 

 

12 years worth.

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NOT ONE PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE MURDER & BODY BURNING OF DAVID LEWIS

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