According to Central Oregon Daily, after two years of investigation, a major illegal drug operation was smashed in Jefferson County, Oregon, on June 14. There are signs of Chinese workers trafficking in drug activities.
Illegal marijuana is allegedly cultivated and processed in Madras and Culver. It is then sent to Portland for nationwide distribution.
A 64-year-old Madras man is suspected of being one of the leaders of the operation. He owns the vast majority of the grow site properties.
Drug sales proceeds would be laundered through Chinese restaurants and other businesses before being disgustingly transported back to mainland China as international business transactions.
14 of 15 people arrested are Chinese. Most of them had been trafficked into the U.S. through Mexico. They had found work in restaurants in Oregon and Washington before the cartel recruited them to work in the illegal drug trade.
Five are sent to jail, while the remaining ten laborers are released after detention and interview by detectives.
They are victims of trafficking. They were promised they would be trained and given legal jobs on farms with thousands of dollars per month.
Police have provided them with resources and put them in touch with the Chinese embassy.
The police have seized more than 16,000 pounds of marijuana, over 17,000 plants, four firearms, and a large amount of U.S. dollars.
Besides, investigators find that the cartel diverts and steals significant amounts of water from nearby residences, farms, and directly from pumps connected to underground water sources. Pesticides and insecticides are also allegedly adopted.
Kent VanderKamp, a Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team member, says that the drug operation is related to guns, intimidation, and international money laundering. It had processing equipment that allegedly came from the Chinese government. For example, a vape pen cartridge filling station has a Chinese government tax stamp, indicating that at some point, the equipment has to go through the government for exports.
He adds, “The A.R. 15 models were equipped with red dots and military grade equipment that we don’t normally see in privately owned weapons.”