Detectives with the Deschutes County Illegal Marijuana Enforcement (DCIME) team ended a long-term investigation involving a large-scale illegal indoor marijuana grow on Wednesday morning.
Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp said at around 7:00 a.m., DCIME detectives, with the assistance of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team, carried out a search warrant on the 50000 block of Highway 31 in the unincorporated area of La Pine.
He said police entered the 10-acre property and located two commercial indoor growing facilities containing 2,828 marijuana plants.
In addition to the plants, the officers found 14 firearms, over $350,000 and evidence of money laundering schemes within the compound.
Seven people were captured by the SWAT team and later arrested by detectives at the scene.
Two of the seven people were arrested at the scene and released with a citation to appear in court.
The possession of small amounts of marijuana is legal for recreational use in Oregon.
However, large, unlicensed marijuana operations remain illegal.
Several areas in Deschutes County have been struggling with consistent groundwater sources.
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.
This particular grow site used underground well water and maintained a complex watering system.
The following people, in no particular order, were arrested for the unlawful delivery of marijuana and unlawful manufacturing of marijuana. They were taken to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Jail, except as noted otherwise:
- Yi Wien ZHU, age 43, of Renton, Washington
- Shi Min LEE, age 49, of La Pine, Oregon
- Ping Ping LI, age 36, of Kent, Washington
- Rong Ren LI, age 59, of La Pine, Oregon
- Xiao Zhen ZHU. age 58, of La Pine, Oregon
- Hong Chun LIU, age 43, of La Pine, Oregon (Cited In Lieu of Custody)
- Har Soon LEE YEP, age 72, of La Pine, Oregon (Cited in Lieu of Custody)
DCIME Detectives were assisted by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division, Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team, Oregon State Police and the US Drug Enforcement Administration with the investigation and deconstruction of this site.
The DCIME team is a partnership between the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, the Bend Police Department and the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office to address illegal marijuana activity in Deschutes County.