Deputies Bust Thieves Loaded with Hemp they Thought was Marijuana

Four young men were arrested outside Molalla early Tuesday morning for being caught with hundreds of pounds of stolen hemp plants — which the suspects mistakenly believed to be recreational marijuana.

Talk about a half-baked scheme — not to be blunt.

Both hemp and marijuana are forms of cannabis, but only marijuana contains intoxicating quantities of THC. Hemp is grown commercially for a variety of other products, including CBD oil, which was the case here.

At 3:22 a.m. Tuesday, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and Molalla police responded to a report of multiple subjects walking on Highway 211 near South Palmer Road outside of Molalla.

Authorities soon located the four male suspects. They were loaded down with large bags and high expectations. Green leaves protruding from the bags as well as the suspects’ pants and jacket pockets. One was carrying an armful of hemp plants.

Police said the suspects were wearing dark clothing and were caked in mud. One attempted to throw the duffel bag he was carrying down an embankment when a Clackamas County deputy switched on his lights, as seen in the dashcam video below.

Arrested were 21-year-old Jason Patrick Troyer, 20-year-old Tanner Leslie Giles and 20-year-old Donovan Allan Hall, all of Portland, as well as 19-year-old Sebastian Wade Roby, of Oregon City.

Troyer was also carrying a knife in his pocket, police said. Roby had warrants out of Florence Municipal Court for first-degree theft and second-degree criminal trespass.

Authorities say they were all laden with large quantities of hemp plants — anywhere from 60 to 80 pounds each.

Collage of the four suspects, courtesy the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

An on-scene investigation quickly revealed that the four suspects had stolen the plants from a nearby legal grow operation off Highway 211. The four had heard about the farm from a friend, and they had reportedly taken a bus from Portland to Molalla to steal the plants, thinking they were recreational marijuana.

Perhaps the friend was just blowing smoke? Sure sounds like it.

The owner of the farm arrived and identified the plants as hemp, used mostly for therapeutic CBD oils and containing only a minimal amount of THC. The plants were nevertheless valued at around $2,500 and were returned to the owner.

The suspects were transported to Clackamas County Jail and booked without incident. They face charges of first-degree theft and criminal trespass.

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