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The Polk County Sherrif’s Office busted two illegal marijuana operations of about 15,000 plants inside about 80 greenhouses.

INDEPENDENCE — Three people were arrested when the Polk County Sheriff’s Office raided two illegal marijuana grows over the past three weeks, confiscating 15,000 plants valued around $30 million.

During the past three weeks, deputies executed two search warrants on suspected illegal marijuana grows, the PCSO wrote on its Facebook page. One location was on Simpson Road near Airlie Road and the other in the 7000 block of Red Prairie Road. Between the two locations there were nearly 15,000 marijuana plants taken as evidence, as well as hundreds of pounds of processed marijuana.

Three people were arrested in connection with the Red Prairie Road location: Sanong Inthavong, 67, of Sheridan, Phetsavanh Boliboun, 61, of Fresno, California, and Sengdara Nakhiegchanh, 54, of Sheridan. All three were charged with the unlawful manufacture of marijuana and unlawful possession of Marijuana. All three were lodged at the Polk County Jail and have since posted bail to be released.

The investigation is ongoing for the other location.

All the plants were being grown inside approximately 80 greenhouses in total. At each location, there were elaborate watering systems and living quarters. Evidence was also found that showed the intent of delivering the finished product outside of Oregon.

“Illegal marijuana grows of this magnitude present a variety of issues. From recovering firearms, blatant criminal activity, the presence of unsanitary and hazardous chemicals, using water from rivers and streams without proper water rights, all showcase the unique challenges and dangers of how these types of cases impact our local communities in a variety of ways,” the post read.

These types of marijuana grow operations could net about one to two pounds of sellable marijuana per plant. In this case the plants would yield anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 pounds of marijuana, which could be sold for upwards of $30 million in Oregon. The value outside of Oregon is much higher, sometimes reaching three to four times the value of what it can be sold locally.

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