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Police Search Uncovers 30 Pounds Of Marijuana

Herb Fellow

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A Corvallis man was charged with drug conspiracy and racketeering on Friday, a day after detectives searching his apartment discovered 30 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $150,000.

Joeseph Page, 37, was arrested by a Benton County Sheriff's Office and Corvallis Police Department Joint Street Crimes Unit at 5:45 p.m. Thursday while driving from Corvallis toward Interstate 5 on Highway 34. Several hours later, police served a search warrant at Page's apartment at 900 S.E. Centerpoint Drive, where they found the marijuana, along with about $3,000 in cash.

Page was arraigned in Benton County Circuit Court on Friday afternoon on charges of unlawful delivery of marijuana, criminal conspiracy and racketeering. He was being held at the Benton County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

The racketeering charge is a Class A felony that is not bound by Oregon's sentencing guidelines. "Where we use that offense is in cases involved in a drug organization, drug ring or drug operation," Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson said.

Investigators said Page is suspected of shipping marijuana all over the country. "A package was intercepted that contained a significant amount of marijuana," Corvallis Police Lt. Tim Brewer said, explaining how the investigation began. The package was traced back to Corvallis, he said.
According to court documents, investigators had been watching Page since at least August of 2006.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Stringer said packages were being sent out of various third-party shipping outlets in Linn County to addresses as far away as Virginia, North Carolina and Louisiana. Brewer said many of the packages contained large amounts of marijuana, weighing more than a pound each. Authorities would not say on Friday how much marijuana they believe was shipped out of Corvallis.

Detectives in the Portland and Albany areas were also involved in the investigation, authorities said. The investigation into the marijuana shipping operation is continuing and police said they are trying to find others involved.

Detectives searching Page's apartment on Thursday night found 15 pounds of marijuana inside a child's bedroom, Brewer said. The marijuana was wrapped in a Spider Man bed sheet and was inside a nylon suitcase, he said. Another five pounds of pot was found inside a gift-wrapped cardboard box, Brewer said, the remaining 10 pounds of marijuana was inside a nylon duffel bag.
Police also said they searched the vehicle Page was driving at the time of his arrest and found small amounts of marijuana and a pipe.

During Friday's arraignment, Stringer said Page had more than $22,000 in a bank account that may also be seized if it is found to be related to the case.
A hearing was set for Feb. 29 at 1:20 p.m. to review the case before setting a trial date.

Source: Corvallis Gazette Times
Copyright: 2008, Corvallis Gazette Times
Contact: Michael Booth, Corvallis Gazette Times Reporter
Website: Corvallis Gazette Times: Community News
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