Two men, one of whom is a former narcotics detective, were taken into custody the past week for illegally growing marijuana in Southern Oregon. His arrest came after 1,200 illegal marijuana plants growing on his land east of Klamath Falls were discovered by drug task force agents.
Peter Michael Shepherd, 63, aka Mike Shepherd, faces Class C felonies of unlawful manufacture of marijuana, and “engaging in a financial transaction in property derived from unlawful activity,” according to the Klamath County District Attorney Even Costello.
After Shepherd posted his bond, he met with the Malin Police Department Chief of Police Ron Broussard. The chief says he put Shepherd, one of his reserve officers, on an immediate leave of absence. He had worked for the Malin Police Department since 2007.
Before his current job, Shepherd worked for the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office. Between 1990 and 2004, he worked in various positions including marine deputy, patrol officer, narcotics officer, and civil deputy. In 2012, he ran for Klamath County Sheriff.
Shepherd also worked as a civilian at the Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base until 2016. His jobs were in the information protection and human resource divisions. Oregon state records indicate he is no longer a certified officer as his certification expired in 2019.
The second man arrested in the same case is 41-year-old Eric Smith. He allegedly grew the marijuana plants without permits on land he leased from Shepherd. Smith posted a $10,000 bond and is due back in court on Jan. 18, 2022. He faces the same charges as the former detective.
If convicted on both felony counts, the defendants could spend 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Marijuana has been a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act since 1970. It is illegal to grow, sell, and consume.
However, the federal government has granted states the right to allow cannabis manufacture, sales, a consumption in their jurisdiction. Even though it is legal or decriminalized in 38 states and the District of Columbia, the illegal growing of marijuana continues to flourish. Growers like the defendants undercut the prices of legalized marijuana products offered by the permitted farmers who follow the rules and pay taxes.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Oregonian: Former narcotics detective faces felonies over alleged southern Oregon marijuana grow
Herald and News: Former narcotics detective faces felonies after 1,200 marijuana plants found on property; by Joe Siess
OPB: Former Southern Oregon narcotics detective faces felonies over alleged cannabis grow
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