Other cops threw a former narcotics detective’s ass in jail for weed, and all this on Christmas week, for good measure. Officers arrested Peter Michael Shepherd, 63, a reserve officer for the Malin Police Department Tuesday after a drug task force found 1,225 illegal marijuana plants growing on his southern Oregon property, reports The Herald and News.
Shepherd, who goes by Mike Shepherd, faces felony charges of unlawful manufacture of marijuana outside Dairy, Oregon. As well, he faces charges of “engaging in a financial transaction in property derived from unlawful activity,” according to Klamath County District Attorney Eve Costello.
Officers also arrested Eric Smith, 41, who allegedly leased Shepherd’s property to grow the herb without permits, on Tuesday afternoon. Deputies with the Klamath County Sheriff’s office arrested Smith at the Malin City Hall. Smith now faces the same charges as Shepherd.
Ran For Sheriff In 2012
Shepherd ran for Klamath County Sheriff in 2012. He worked for the Sheriff’s Office from 1990 to 2004 as a patrol officer and narcotics detective, among other cop-oriented positions.
Since 2007, he has worked part-time as a reserve cop for the Malin Police Department.
After posting bail on Tuesday, Shepherd visited with Ron Broussard, chief of police at the Malin Police Department. Broussard said he immediately put Shepherd on leave on Tuesday.
No Hemp Permit For Location
The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office and Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (BINET) visited Shepherd’s rural property on Sept. 16. This was because they received a tip alleging illegal activity there, reports The Associated Press.
Because the situation involved an active-duty law enforcement officer, the Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from Oregon State Police Sergeant Cliff Barden. Barden is also the BINET supervisor.
Shepherd told officers all the plants at the location were part of a licensed hemp operation managed by Smith, documents said.
Investigators say there was no hemp permit and, besides, the plants were definitely not hemp.
Barden said Shepherd leased the property to Smith. But Smith had no license to grow either hemp or marijuana at the location, according to Barden.
That detail alone gave Barden and the Sheriff’s Office probable cause to investigate. BINET asked Shepherd and Smith for permission to seize some plants for testing. Barden said both men agreed and provided written consent.
Barden said the grower, Smith, had a legal permit to grow hemp elsewhere.
Police Tests Showed Plants Had THC
According to police, Shepherd claimed Smith was growing legal hemp on the property while fully licensed and in legal compliance.
However, Barden said Shepherd did not check Smith’s paperwork for verification.
“He didn’t follow up on it,” Barden said. “(Shepherd) didn’t physically look at any permits or anything like that.”
Months later, tests conducted by the Oregon State Police cops showed the plants were high-THC marijuana. Shepherd and Smith were then indicted this week by a grand jury, according to Costello.
They Get Could Get 10 Years
“Both of those allegations are Class C Felonies and depending on where they are on the gridlock, they will be on probation for somewhere between two and three years and there is usually jail time and public service work that come with it,” Costello said, reports KTVL.
Conviction on both of the Class C felonies could theoretically result in a total of ten years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Smith had posted a $10,000 bond. His next court date is set for Tuesday, Jan. 18.
Local cops have been struggling to get a handle on unlicensed, untaxed marijuana operations in southern Oregon. Last week, the Oregon Legislature dedicated $25 million to help law enforcement agencies and community organizations pay for the costs of dealing with thousands of industrial-scale, illegal pot farms.