PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A criminal investigation revealed two illegal marijuana grow properties in southern Oregon, with court documents illustrating a potential seizure of the goods.
On Tuesday, April 12, a complaint for forfeiture was filed in the U.S. District Court in Eugene against two properties in Douglas County — one located in Myrtle Creek and another in Riddle. A declaration submitted by a special agent for the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division said the properties were used to grow and distribute marijuana illegally.
The documents also say the agent has strong reason to believe that the properties were purchased with illegal marijuana funds.
“Based on evidence obtained in this investigation, including witness statements, property records, financial records, and records seized during the execution of a search warrant executed on multiple properties related to Ian Canning Dobson (Dobson), there is probable cause to believe, and I do believe the Defendant Real Properties represent proceeds traceable to an exchange for controlled substances,” IRS Special Agent Darcey O’Brien said in the declaration.
Court documents say Ian Canning Dobson and other members of the Dobson Drug Trafficking Organization, also known as Dobson DTO, have been in a conspiracy to manufacture and possess with the intent to distribute marijuana from southern Oregon and northern California to locations throughout the United States.
Dobson is accused of depositing proceeds from the marijuana DTO into his personal bank accounts to then purchase the 52.37-acre property in Myrtle Creek.
On September 28, 2020, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous call from a source who worked at one of the properties.
The person told investigators that there was a hidden marijuana grow in the middle of trees surrounding this location, even though the property appeared to be a legitimate hemp operation.
“The [Source of Information] also indicated that numerous weapons were located onsite, that an individual the SOI referred to as ‘Ivan’ was connected to Colombia, and that an individual the SOI referred to as ‘Jorge Leal’ was the head of the grow/farm operation. The SOI indicated that ‘Jorge’ left the property at night and transported the marijuana to California,” the documents stated.
“Ivan” was later identified as Ivan Stefano Debiase and “Jorge” was identified as Jorge Diaz-Leal, investigators said. Both were identified through surveillance as working at the property in Myrtle Creek.
The source told investigators that Debiase was of Colombian heritage born in Miami with family in the same city and that “he was directing others in the processing of marijuana at the [Myrtle Creek] property.”
According to the source, the workers initially were trimming hemp, but the workers began processing marijuana after the third day they arrived. The source added that the workers’ pay went up after they learned they were processing marijuana.
“The SOI stated that there were 48 greenhouses on the property that contained marijuana,” the declaration added. “The SOI stated he/she saw the marijuana being vacuum-sealed in bags in a room that only Debiase and two other DTO members had access to. The marijuana was also weighed in that room.”
Debiase is accused by the source of bringing money to fund the grow operation from California and said they observed Debiase pull two vacuum-sealed bags containing currency from underneath the seat of his truck.
One of the packages was used to pay the workers and another was given to a DTO member who took the money into his trailer on the property, according to the source.
At times, the declaration says, the source observed a U-Haul rental truck being loaded with marijuana.
To read the full declaration, click here.