CROOKED RIVER RANCH, Ore. - Two men have been arrested in a pair of drug raids on two neighboring homes at Crooked River Ranch, one of which had butane hash oil lab components and more than 100 pounds of marijuana, the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team reported Saturday.
The CODE Team began an investigation this month into the distribution of heroin and methamphetamine, Lt. Nick Parker said.
As a result of the investigation, the CODE Team executed a search warrant around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday at a home in the 6300 block of Southwest Buckskin Lane at Crooked River Ranch, Parker said.
There are two homes on the property, and the search warrant authorized a raid specifically on the one occupied by Justin Paul Hamilton, 41, of Crooked River Ranch.
Hamilton was encountered in the home and was detained without incident, Parker said. Investigators found a small amount of meth and heroin, digital scales and cash. They also seized a handgun, as Hamilton is a felon not legally allowed to possess firearms.
Redmond resident Brandon Matthew Darrow, 30, arrived at the home during the raid and ultimately was arrested for frequenting a place where drugs are used, Parker said, adding that investigators found he possessed a user amount of heroin.
As the raid continued, investigators learned a neighboring home at the same address had a butane hash oil, or BHO lab, along with a significant, illegal amount of marijuana. A second search warrant was obtained and executed at the neighboring home around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, Parker said.
Investigators found a woman hiding in the second home, Parker said. No action was taken against her, but Parker said her possible criminal involvement will be referred to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office for consideration.
The team also found components and equipment for the manufacture of a butane honey oil lab and also seized about 105 pounds of marijuana, Parker said.
Both Hamilton and Darrow were taken to the Jefferson County Jail, where Hamilton was booked on charges of heroin and meth possession and delivery, felon in possession of a firearm and frequenting a place where drugs are used. He remained held at the jail Saturday on $35,000 bail, a jail officer said.
Darrow ultimately was cited and released from the jail, facing charges of heroin possession and frequenting a place where drugs are used.
Parker said the investigation regarding the BHO lab is continuing. “The suspect(s) responsible for the lab have been identified, and it is anticipated charges will be forthcoming,” Parker said in a news release.
"Hash oil," also known as "honey oil," is derived from marijuana. The "hash" or "honey" is concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, Parker wrote.
"Hash oil" is manufactured by utilizing highly flammable materials, such as Butane, to refine and concentrate the THC, making a product which can range upward to 90 percent THC content.
Parker said today's marijuana sold in recreational and medical dispensaries typically has THC content ranging from 15-20 percent and some as high as 30 percent.
"There has been a dramatic increase in the number of marijuana BHO lab explosions in Oregon in recent years, to the extent (that) the Oregon State Police has reformed several Clandestine Lab Response Teams," Parker added. "The last time these teams were being utilized was during the home methamphetamine manufacturing boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) Team is a multijurisdictional narcotics task force supported by the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program and the following Central Oregon law enforcement agencies: Bend Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Redmond Police Department, Prineville Police Department, Crook County Sheriff's Office, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Madras Police Department, Oregon State Police, Sunriver Police Department, Black Butte Police Department, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Warm Springs Tribal Police Department, Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson County district attorneys' offices and the Oregon National Guard.
The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy-sponsored counter-drug grant program that coordinates and provides funding resources to multiagency drug enforcement task forces to disrupt or dismantle local, multistate and international drug trafficking organizations.