Are There Still Cartel Grows in Oregon? 8,000 Plants Eradicated in Wheeler

Some plants already in the ground. Image: Wheeler Sheriff

OCC Staff

A massive illegal outdoor grow in Wheeler County, Oregon, drew attention to the existence of Mexican-run cartel grows in states that recently legalized marijuana. Several agencies, eradicated thousands of plants in what appeared to be a cartel grow.

Press release from the Wheeler County Sheriff:

May 3rd, 2016 – Wheeler County, OR – In a joint effort between the Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, and the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team, an illicit outdoor marijuana grow was eradicated in southern Wheeler County. Over 8000 marijuana plants were recovered along with other evidence.

“It’s a reminder to us that these major drug trafficking organizations are still out there and presenting a risk to our County,” Sheriff Humphreys said, “Having partners like OSP and CODE to take coordination on these issues is a huge help, as a grow this size quickly overwhelms us.”

Plants up hill
More plants up a hill. Image: Wheeler Sheriff

The illegal grow was located by a Wheeler County resident who immediately reported it to the Sheriff’s Office. The Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone who recreates on both private and public lands to be mindful of anything suspicious that they may observe. The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team advises that such things as propane tanks, large amounts of black irrigation piping and fertilizer bags may all be indicators of an illegal marijuana grow.

Anyone with information about a suspected illegal marijuana grow should contact the Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office at 541-763-4101.

Sheriff Chris Humphreys, Wheeler County, Oregon.

Although some people dispute the ability to grow outdoors at these elevations, as Robert Peterson said in the Deschutes Commissioners meeting Tuesday, May 2, 2016 cartel grows like this have been found in Central and Eastern Oregon for years. In 2011, a massive cartel grow of 91,000 plants was found on U.S. Forest Service public lands in a remote section of northern Wallowa County.

These growers are trying to exploit Oregon’s new laws, but good regulation and conscientious efforts of our citizens should keep these oper

Water Tubing Piles
Water tubing, massive amounts, left behind by the growers. Image: Wheeler Sheriff

ations in check. These grows are one of the the reasons we passed Measure 91 in 2014. People need to report these grows, which are obviously not legal, and let the Sheriff determine the action to take. Even a responsible licensed commercial grow will notify neighbors and be permitted by the State and County, so the Sheriff’s department is aware of what is legal or illegal.
© 2016 Oregon Cannabis Connection. All Rights Reserved.


County Map
Wheeler County, Oregon…Why would a drug cartel choose Wheeler county? The 2010 Census pegged the county’s population at just over 1,400!



Keith Mansur

Keith Mansur is the founder, publisher, and editor of Oregon Cannabis Connection newspaper. The print publication has been serving Oregon since 2010. He has been a Oregon medical marijuana patient, grower, and caregiver since 2006. Find him on Facebook or email him at

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