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Redmond Carry-On Bag Leads To Drug Bust

BEND, OR -- Three people were arrested after a joint investigation by the Deschutes County Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team and the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team. It started when the TSA at the Redmond Airport found a commercial quantity of cannabis concentrate in a carry-on bag. Some of those packages were labeled from an illicit Bend grow detectives say traced back to 34-year-old Daniel Jose Aguiar. They believe he ran a lab to process illicit marijuana in a residential area of Three Rivers, before exporting it around the country. 

On March 1CODE, DCIME, DEA Agents, DCSO Street Crime Unit and Redmond Police Detectives with the assistance of the Deschutes County Sheriff's SWAT Team, executed simultaneous Search Warrants on the 55000 block of Lazy River Drive and the 61400 block of Linton Loop, both in Bend. During the search, Aguiar and an uninvolved house guest was contacted inside the grow operation. Detectives say they seized 60 lbs. of processed marijuana flower, 101 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, one firearm, and a large amount of cash. The cannabis extraction lab was also dismantled and seized. 

They also found cannabis harvest infected by viruses or viroid pathogens.  Although these viruses generally impact the plant’s potency and yield, the danger to humans comes from pesticides used to treat the virus, transferred to the final product. The property also had dangerous electrical wiring conditions, non-permitted electrical panels, exposed electrical wires, unpermitted interior walls, and lacked any safety equipment, proper ventilation, or unsanitary conditions. Aguiar was cited for several marijuana crimes. 

A Deschutes County Building Code Compliance Officer assisted after detectives observed numerous building code violations. These compliance issues have been referred for enforcement against the property owners who live out-of-state. 

During the search of Linton Loop, detectives say they found various processed marijuana products, evidence of the exportation operation, three firearms, and a large amount of cash. They detained 41-year-old Paige Lyn Sidler - whose carry-on bag launched the investigation - and her boyfriend, 44-year-old Mark Arie Mehrhof, of Bend. Detectives believe Mehrhof is a co-conspirator. Both were also cited for several drug-related crimes. 

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