Drug team makes meth, pot arrests

The Medford Area Drug Enforcement Team and its newest four-legged crimefighter have been on a hot streak lately, capping a successful two weeks with big methamphetamine and marijuana busts.

The department's yellow Labrador named Kilo sniffed out the meth Monday during a traffic stop on Interstate 5 near Ashland.

Police stopped a northbound 2005 Chevrolet van at milepost 14 for speeding and called Kilo in to search the vehicle, Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said.

Kilo signaled to officers that she smelled drugs hidden in the van. A search turned up a pound of meth with an estimated street value of $24,000, Doney said.

"It was a good find by Kilo," Doney said. "She has been on a huge roll lately. This was the latest of her cases."

The driver, Carlos Alberto Lopez, 38, of South Gate, Calif., in the Los Angeles area, was arrested on charges of possession and delivery of meth. He remains lodged in the Jackson County Jail today on $515,000 bail.

Lopez's 14-year-old son and his girlfriend's 9-year-old daughter were in the van with Lopez at the time of the stop, Doney said. The children were taken into protective custody.

Doney said Lopez allegedly hid the meth inside toy cars.

"They will try to hide drugs where they can," Doney said. "A toy is just as good as any place. We've seen it all."

Kilo has hit the ground running since recently partnering with Medford police K9 Officer Rob Havice. She has been deployed three times in the past two weeks. Last week she found 6 pounds of processed marijuana in one case and in another drugs and $10,000 in drug sale proceeds, Doney said.

Investigations are continuing in both of those cases and Doney said more information would be released at a later date.

"However you cut it, she is on fire," Doney said.

The drug team, which goes by the acronym MADGE, also busted an illegal marijuana garden in White City. Complaints led police to a medical marijuana garden with more plants than legally allowed, officials said.

Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement went at about 2:40 p.m. Thursday to a home in the 3500 block of Beagle Road to talk to two people living there — Muriel Ann Louise Thompson, 53, and Adrian Michael Morford, 28.

The home is a registered marijuana growing site for two medical marijuana cardholders, who can have 12 mature plants and 36 starter plants, Doney said.

However, the pair had 128 plants of various sizes, he said.

Authorities seized 80 plants. The officers left behind the number and size of plants that the cardholders could legally possess, Doney said.

Thompson and Morford were charged with possession and manufacture of marijuana, police said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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