Investigation into Elderly Woman's Stolen Tractor, Water TheftLeads to Neighboring Illegal Cannabis Grow (Photo)
JCSO Case 22-6242
RURAL GOLD HILL, Ore. - While investigating a report of a stolen tractor, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) Patrol deputies discovered water being diverted to a neighboring illegal cannabis grow. Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) detectives assisted JCSO Patrol in serving a search warrant at the suspect’s property on the 2900 block of Birdseye Creek Road this morning. On scene, investigators discovered the stolen tractor along with the victim’s utility trailer and two horse saddles. The water, tractor, and trailer were stolen from the suspect’s elderly neighbor. Investigators discovered the suspect had stolen approximately 1600 gallons of water from the neighbor.
On the property, two suspects were contacted and arrested. The property owner, Joseph Allen Hope, 46, was charged with first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary, first-degree theft, unauthorized use of a vehicle (UUMV), unlawful manufacture of a marijuana item, and theft of services. The tenant, Christopher Gene Lindsay, 38, was charged with first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary, second-degree theft, and UUMV. Both suspects were lodged in the Jackson County Jail.
Jackson County Code Enforcement responded to conduct an independent investigation. Code Enforcement issued the property owner and tenant citations totaling $4,000. The violations included using two camping trailers as dwellings, solid waste, and failing to obtain marijuana production approval.There was no licensing for any type of cannabis growing, handling, or processing at this location.
While regulatory agencies investigate permitted cannabis operations, IMET is focusing on the black-market marijuana trade in the Rogue Valley. IMET is a multi-agency task force funded by a grant from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. The task force includes personnel from JCSO, Medford Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, Code Enforcement, Watermasters, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.