ELSIE, Ore. - Authorities seized approximately 800 marijuana plants and 40 pounds of processed marijuana that could have generated more than $2 million for the growers, the Clatsop County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday. Three people were arrested Friday in connection with the operation.
Steven Jacob Wolf, 44, and Vance Kevin Wright, 46, both of Timber, Ore., were arrested Friday morning while harvesting the plants on Longview Fibre Co. land near Elsie. They were held in the Clatsop County Jail on one count each of manufacturing and possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy, attempted delivery of a controlled substance and criminal trespass with a firearm.
Wright also was charged with possession of a weapon with intent to use it. When deputies approached Wright, he was holding a Ruger .357 Magnum but did not point it at them and dropped the gun when ordered.
Lorraine Fay Wolf, 50, was arrested on a traffic stop while driving up to the site to meet her husband. She was booked into jail on one count each of manufacture of a controlled substance and conspiracy.
All three were arraigned in Clatsop County Circuit Court on Monday on one count each of unlawful manufacture and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. They were released on $25,000 bail each.
The suspects could likely face additional charges in Washington County, Ore., where they live. At the request of Clatsop County, and with the homeowners' consent, the Washington County Interagency Narcotics Team searched the suspects' residences in Timber. From the Wolfs' home, they seized more than 42 pounds of processed marijuana, 15 plants and 10 weapons. At Wright's residence, deputies confiscated seven plants, one ounce of marijuana, grow equipment and three guns. The results of the searches have been forwarded to the Washington County District Attorney's Office.
The plants were growing in spring-fed plots in three canyons off Lower Nehalem Road in the Spruce Run area of Elsie in southwest Clatsop County. Many of the plants were eight to nine feet tall and heavily loaded with buds, ready to harvest.
Ten deputies and three cadets toiled for eight hours Saturday to remove the plants, packing 50 pound bundles of plants, up and down steep ravines thick with brush, for distances of up to a half mile. The plants, estimated to weigh 3,500 pounds wet, filled a 10-yard dump truck from the Clatsop County Public Works three-quarters full.
"This was not a small-time marijuana operation. These plants were going to produce 3- to 40-pounds of high-quality product per plant," Chief Deputy Tom Bergin said.
"At a conservative estimate of $2,500 a plant, this operation would have netted $2.4 million."
Bergin praised senior deputy Justin Dimmick, the Nehalem Valley resident deputy, who had been placed on special assignment in charge of the investigation. Bergin also thanked all the Clatsop County deputies and cadets for their hours of hard work and the Washington County Interagency Narcotics Team for its assistance.