MINT finds pot in woods, but no suspects

Task force secures 176 mature plants from Willow Flat area, but marijuana grows seems to be decreasing in county

October 8, 2005

Hood River County Sheriff Joe Wampler tailed a truck full of leafy green bushes through city streets on Wednesday.

The vehicle wasn’t carrying common garden stock.

It was filled with 176 mature marijuana plants that had just been harvested from an illegal grow operation.

Wampler had helped carry the evidence out of a forest in the Willow Flat area. And he had made sure the evidence was secured for a case with no known suspects.

Wampler and the Mid-Columbia Interagency Narcotics Taskforce (MINT) were disappointed by the lack of an arrest.

They believed the individual responsible for planting the cannabis might have been scared away by common knowledge of its discovery.

According to an undercover officer, the citizen who unexpectedly came across the marijuana plants, which ranged in height from 5 to 8 feet, openly shared that information.

“We believe there is a strong possibility that we lost a suspect because this became so public,” said the frustrated MINT member.

He urged citizens who happen upon a grow to exercise discretion and immediately call the MINT tipline at 387-7034.

Wampler is feeling heartened that the illegal cultivation of marijuana in the county appears to be dramatically lower this year. During 2005, deputies and MINT have netted fewer than 500 marijuana plants, far below the 2,000 plant average.

Wampler contends the heightened focus on stopping the drug trade in Hood River County is paying off. In recent years, he has stepped up the flight program to search out grows from the sky, and MINT has established a comprehensive network of informants.

“Drugs are literally the root of all evil so we are very diligent about acting on any information that we are given,” said Wampler.

He said fighting the battle against drug dealers is important because 90 percent of all crimes are tied to use of an illicit substance or alcohol abuse.

Last week, MINT scored the arrest of a father and son who were allegedly selling methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana to local buyers.

Ascencio Solis Gordian, 56, and his 30-year-old son, Rosario Gordian Cruz, were jailed after officers searched the farm worker cabin along Thomsen Road where the senior member of the family resided.

A small cache of drugs was reported found under his bed and in his dresser drawer.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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