The federal government is attempting to take possession of two Applegate Valley properties allegedly used by the High Hopes Farm to grow marijuana under the state's medical-marijuana program but in violation of federal laws banning cannabis cultivation.
Federal prosecutors Wednesday filed court papers in U.S. District Court in Portland to launch a federal forfeiture case against the land where James Bowman grew High Hopes marijuana even though Bowman doesn't own the properties nor has he been charged with a crime, according to court documents.
The registered owner of the 5-acre High Hopes Farm property at 700 Upper Applegate Road is Melissa Jean Yager, who federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents believe is Bowman's live-in girlfriend, court filings state.
Bowman and Yager list the property as their residence, according to federal agents.
The nearby 156-acre property at 746 Upper Applegate Road tapped for seizure is owned by William Day Boddorff, who rented, for $2,000 a month, a small piece of the property to Bowman for marijuana cultivation, a DEA affidavit states.
Boddorff told DEA agents that Bowman told him not to worry about facing federal seizure because he was following "the letter of the law" of Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program, the affidavit states.
Both properties were targeted in Wednesday's filing and were raided Sept. 18 by DEA agents.
Agents seized 601 marijuana plants and about 400 pounds of dried marijuana from High Hopes Farm, though OMMP rules state the property could grow no more than about 400 plants under the program, court filing state.
Agents pulled 206 plants and seized an unspecified amount of dried marijuana from Boddorff's property, which OMMP records show was a registered grow site for up to 354 mature plants, the affidavit states.
Federal laws spell out a process for the government to seek forfeiture of properties involving crimes even without anyone being formally charged with a federal crime.
— Mark Freeman