Bust involving drugs, snakes, guns ends in probation

Bust involving drugs, snakes, guns ends in probation

Two defendants each received 11 months probation in a drug bust case that also involved weapons and a mix of poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes.

Conan Samson Yates, 26, and Kelly Rose McDonald, 24, are in Florida and were not required to appear for their sentencing hearing Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court. In addition to probation, they were each fined $2,400.

Defense lawyer Justin Rosas entered guilty pleas on Yates' behalf to charges of importing or exporting more than 16 ounces of marijuana, possession of more than a quarter-once of an unlicensed cannabinoid extract and unlawful delivery of marijuana. Seven other drug-related charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Defense lawyer Jeni Feinberg entered a guilty plea on McDonald's behalf to a single count of possession of more than a quarter-ounce of unlicensed cannabinoid extract. Nine other charges were dismissed.

Yates and McDonald will be eligible to have their felony drug convictions reduced to misdemeanors if they successfully complete the terms of their probation.

Yates and McDonald were arrested in August 2016 after investigators issued a search warrant in the 400 block of Wagon Trail Drive outside Jacksonville. Investigators found large amounts of packaged marijuana, marijuana plants, psychedelic mushrooms, ecstasy and a butane honey oil lab, according to a release issued at the time by Oregon State Police.

The search was complicated by numerous snakes, seven of which were poisonous. Albino cobras, rattlesnakes and a python were among the species identified. The animals were left uninjured at the residence, the release said.

Investigators seized 101 marijuana plants, more than 20 pounds of packaged and heat-sealed marijuana, and an additional 100 pounds of marijuana throughout the property. Other drugs included bags of psilocybin mushrooms, ecstasy, hydrocodone tablets and multiple pounds of honey oil, according to OSP.

A butane honey oil operation in a shed on the property yielded quarts of concentrated marijuana extract, according to probable cause affidavits filed by OSP.

The technique of creating the marijuana extract can be explosive. In other cases in Southern Oregon, people in or near honey oil operations have been badly burned in fires and explosions.

OSP clandestine-lab personnel safely dismantled the lab, the press release said.

Weapons seized included 20 rifles and five pistols, some of which were loaded, the press release said.

The search warrant was issued after the couple prepared approximately 30 pounds of dried and processed marijuana for sale to a confidential informant, according to court documents.

Investigators seized scales, packaging materials, electronic devices, plus a vehicle allegedly involved in the operation.

— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or Follow her at

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