MT HOOD - On Sept. 15, personnel from the Hood River County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police and U.S. Forest Service eradicated nearly 1,000 marijuana plants from the Mt. Hood National Forest near Cat Creek in Hood River County.
A hunter recently discovered the grow site while walking in the area and reported it to the Forest Service. Sixteen officers participated in the raid of the area.
Larger outdoor marijuana growing operations, like the one in the Cat Creek area, are often associated with Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs).
DTOs are highly organized criminal enterprises that traffic in many types of illegal drugs.
Marijuana grows associated with DTOs present a significant public safety risk. DTOs have demonstrated a willingness to use deadly force to protect their crops.
Often, DTOs have personnel that live and work in the grow site. It is common for these people to be armed and/or set up booby traps and cameras to protect their assets.
Citizens play an integral role in helping law enforcement confront and stop this growing problem.
If you should encounter a potential grow site, please make note of the general location and contact law enforcement. Also, be alert to any threat to yourself and leave the area immediately.
According to Det. Matt English, public information officer for the sheriff's office, a pellet gun was seized from the area and a residential shelter was in place but no individuals were located. No arrests have been made in connection with the Sept. 15 eradication. The investigation is ongoing.
The last reported ODT-type marijuana seizure occurred in 2004 in the Neal Creek area of Hood River County, where 2,000 plants were located and eradicated, and three individuals arrested.