Medford police dog's work prompted case against Williams pot grower

A drug-sniffing dog snuffling through packages at the Medford FedEx facility launched a multi-county investigation that led to the arrest of a Williams-area medical marijuana grower accused of selling his crop.

The case broke Jan. 31 when a dog trained to sniff out drugs detected $28,000 cash in heat-sealed bags at a FedEx facility in Medford, according to court documents.

A man who accepted delivery of the money told police the cash was from the sale of marijuana he had obtained from the accused, Michael J. Canepa, 53, of 1500 Panther Gulch Road.

At Canepa's home on Feb. 1, police seized 161 pounds of marijuana and 23 guns, plus small amounts of heroin, in addition to scales and packaging materials, the documents say.

Canepa was arraigned last week on an indictment charging him with sale of marijuana, unlawful manufacture of marijuana and possession of heroin and methamphetamine.

On Jan. 31, a Medford Police Department dog named Kilo alerted police to a suspicious package, indicating the probable presence of narcotics, according to a police report. What police found inside was the $28,000.

A detective posing as a delivery person subsequently located and arrested the 34-year-old man to whom the package was addressed. That man has not been charged, but he told authorities he had obtained 12 pounds of marijuana from Canepa and had sold it to a friend in Ohio for the $28,000, documents state.

The man also told police he had made shipments about five times last year of marijuana from Canepa's operation, which he estimated yielded about 100 pounds of marijuana last year. Canepa's property is a medical marijuana growing site for three people, according to a Rogue Area Drug Enforcement affidavit filed in court.

Canepa owns the property, but foreclosure proceedings on the location were begun in January in Josephine County Circuit Court. Citibank is seeking $122,000 in that action. The property includes a two-story home and a two-story metal-sided shop.

On Feb. 1, investigators with RADE and the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team served a search warrant at Canepa's property, but he wasn't home. They found an indoor-growing room there and 28 mature marijuana plants, plus the guns and other drugs.

On Feb. 11, Canepa was arrested at the Super 8 motel in Grants Pass. He was jailed, but has since then posted $2,500 security and was released. He has hired his own attorney.

— Shaun Hall, Daily Courier

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