Value of plants and equipment found in Forest Gale Heights residence top $100,000
by: Courtesy Photo Police discovered a large indoor marijuana growing operation on Dec. 19.

Forest Grove Police executed a search warrant at a Forest Gale Heights home Wednesday night and found more than $100,000 in marijuana plants and growing equipment.

Randy Guy Johnson, 54, of Forest Grove, let police into his home in the 3300 block of Forest Gale Drive. During the search, officers found 99 marijuana plants, part of a sophisticated growing operation in the 20-year-old home, in an upscale neighborhood on the west side of town.

Officers took Johnson into custody for mental evaluation while they searched the house.

Officers haven't made an arrest, but after their investigation is complete, the case will be forwarded to the Washington County District Attorney's office for review. Police are confident that charges will be forthcoming in what they think was a well-established operation.

'This looked to be an ongoing grow,' said Capt. Aaron Ashbaugh, a spokesman for the Forest Grove Police Department. 'It was likely to have netted a substantial amount of money over a period of time.'

Ashbaugh said that each of the high-quality marijuana plants seized, when fully mature, could yield $1,000 worth of the leafy drug. Police estimate that the lights and materials used to grow the marijuana are worth more than $10,000.

The 1,500-square-foot home, which has a market value of $280,000, was immaculately clean, according to police, making it an unusual venue for a grow operation, according to Ashbaugh. 'Most of the grows we go into are borderline garbage dumps in pretty shabby homes.'

Police first became aware of the house through a tip. During the course of the department's investigation, detectives turned up enough corroborating evidence to secure a search warrant.

Though there is a national trend toward large-scale organized crime operations contracting with homeowners to house marijuana grows, police have no evidence that the Forest Grove home had ties to a larger organization.

'In this case, it was somebody who simply had a nice home and took good care of it and was supplementing an income,' Ashbaugh said.

Police are unsure whether the marijuana grown in the home was distributed to local dealers and then to buyers or sold directly from the home.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong middle name for Randy Guy Johnson.

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