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Cops bust alleged meth compound in Canby

Raid nets guns, drugs, stolen goods - and, police say, endangered kids

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police SWAT teams coordinated a raid on a huge rural compound last week, arresting suspects, seizing stolen property and getting children out of what they say was a hazardous situation.

The raid came in response to complaints about a large property at the end of S Elisha Road in Canby. 'It came to the attention of the neighbors there,' CCSO spokesman Detective Jim Strovink said, 'calling the sheriff's office - reporting that there was a lot of traffic there at a high rate of speed, at all hours of the night.'

That included people racing around on SUVs and 'quads' - as well as a lot of street traffic.

'Frequent traffic with quick stops,' Strovink explained. 'It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out something's the matter.'

The fact that the property is on a dead-end road made the unusual activity obvious: 'Anybody who wanted to visit that residence,' Strovink said, 'had to travel past half a mile of private residences in this rural, quiet community.'

The primary occupant of the manufactured home on the property was identified as Rachelle Butcher, 36 - the mother of seven children ages 3 to 17. Police said they determined that she had been using and dealing methamphetamine.

Strovink said they also learned that her boyfriend - and a frequent visitor to the property - was one Nathan Allen Olney, 24, 'someone who has always been a plague to the sheriff's office… he's been involved in our system for many years - and has been a constant source of irritation with his criminal activities.'

Strovink said they discovered that the children in the home were facing neglect and abuse, and what was described in a release as 'deplorable living conditions.' But the situation was complicated - the property has numerous structures large and small, and was home to an unknown number of potentially dangerous people.

'You have this vast property - there's multiple outbuildings, you have campers and trailers - where's everyone sleeping, or hiding?'

When they went to serve a search warrant at 5 a.m. July 19, it was in a coordinated effort with the CCSO and the OSP. 'The threat assessment was substantial,' Strovink said. 'We had methamphetamine and armed subjects - and wanted felons… they had to move prudently and cautiously, and they did a superb job.'

One person, Allan Parker, 26, was stopped while he was leaving the property, and charged with DUII. Butcher was charged with Assault IV, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Hindering Prosecution, Theft by Receiving and Possession of Stolen Property; bail was set at $750,000.

Olney was also arrested at the scene and charged with Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle and other crimes. Police also arrested Eric Eugene Smith, 26, and charged him with Felony Parole Violation.

'We found weapons and drugs,' Strovink said, 'and the kids are out of harm's way.'

The haul also included a stolen farm tractor, a stolen pickup that was apparently being dismantled for parts, a quarter-ounce of methamphetamine and what was described as a 'vast amount' of tools and garden equipment that police believe had been stolen.

'We're just grateful we were able to get the children out,' Strovink said. 'And we've taken some very active criminals out of the network of activity - the neighbors are going to be real pleased.'