By News-Register staff • 

Illegal marijuana grow operation yields 77,000 pounds of pot worth millions

The largest marijuana seizure in the history of the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office is now in the record books.

A search warrant was served on a rural Newberg property in the 14000 block of N.E. Stone Road Tuesday, Oct. 18, and seized was about 77,000 pounds of processed marijuana.

The street retail value of the haul in Oregon would be about $76.5 million, and on the East Coast, about $265 million.

Also seized were two AR-15 style rifles, a shotgun, multiple handguns, telescope and about $80,000 in cash. Receipts that were recovered showed multiple large wire transfers going from Oregon to Michoacan, Mexico.

Michoacán is located in Western Mexico, and has a stretch of coastline on the Pacific Ocean to the southwest.

Neighbors have often provided law enforcement agencies with information related to significant marijuana grow operations.

Sheriff’s Capt. Sam Elliott was largely responsible for tipping investigators off to the Stone Road grow. The 10-acre property is located between Highway 240 and North Valley Road.

“I frequently drive through the area,” Elliott told the News-Register. “I was smelling marijuana anytime I drove that way.”

Elliott said he first picked up the scent about three weeks ago.

“The odor was strong enough that the only time I’ve ever smelled it that strongly was when we have encountered other large marijuana operations in the county. It was overpowering.”

He said he asked detectives to investigate the property, and in the course of their work, they discovered the property was neither licensed or permitted to serve as a grow operation.

The unidentified property owner was leasing the land to two of the five subjects who were arrested. Further investigation will determine what role the property owner played in the grow.

The acreage had been converted to facilitate the growth, storage, processing, and packaging of marijuana to be shipped or transported out of the county, according to Elliott.

“Neighbors have known about this for a couple of years,” Elliott told the paper. “Everyone makes these (large grows) are legal. No one called us. Neighbors were told (by the subjects) that they had the licensing. They did not know how to verify that information.”

Documents and evidence was recovered that this operation was the work of a large-scale drug trafficking organization that was moving marijuana out of state.

The five individuals were charged with one count each of unlawful possession of marijuana by a person 21 years of age or older and unlawful manufacture of a marijuana item. Both charges are felonies.

The subjects were identified as Miguel Angel Valdovinos Chavez, 23; Ulises Valdovinos Chavez, 28; Jose Alfredo Esquivel Pimentel, 30; Francisco Franco Rodriguez, 23, and Luis Manuel Ruerrero Rubio, 32, all of Newberg. They were lodged in jail without bail, which was set at $150,000 apiece at arraignment in circuit court.

See Friday's print edition for additional details.








Nice Work Capt. Elliott!


The outrage is that the corrupt bureaucracats at either the OLCC or the OMMP would eagerly issue address specific marijuana grow site permits or cannabinoid processing licenses without the knowledge or consent of the land owner. The Yamhill County Sheriffs office should be going down to Salem to arrest those criminals.


Third one in as many months. Open the barn door, the sanctuary state chickens are home, they want to come in and roost.

Anybody notice a pattern or do we still live in a world where horrible decisions have absolutely nothing to do with horrible outcomes?



In all of these illegal grows, there is evidence that the perpetrators were exploiting illegal aliens as unpaid slave labor. There are serious civil rights issues.


JWC. I 100% agree with you. The cartels smuggle people into Oregon (human trafficking) to work the sites, pay them nothing other than a place to stay and food to eat. Guess what happens if their new job just doesn’t work out? You don’t want to know, they are untraceable. They can literally be killed and tossed into a ditch and nobody will be looking for them.

This is a product of a wide open southern border with Mexican drug cartels facilitating much of the human trafficking. Joe Biden enables this, he lies about the status, and has his staff lie about the status of the border.


If you can't tell who's licensed to grow, and who isn't licensed, this is what you get: An illegal grow operation that swears up and down to their neighbors that they are licensed....all while they continue to operate for several years and employ illegal slave labor. OLCC must do better NOW!!

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