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Students implicated in pot ring

Police seize 10 pounds of marijuana, more than $18,000 in cash


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: WEST LINN POLICE DEPARTMENT - The seizures included more than $18,000 in cash. In one of the largest drug busts of its kind in West Linn, police seized about 10 pounds of marijuana and other drugs and more than $18,000 during the month of November as part of an investigation of the trafficking of narcotics in the city and at West Linn High School.

The seizures and associated arrests were part of an investigation that happened over several months, according to West Linn Police Detective Mike Francis, and more arrests are expected in the coming weeks or months.

The street value of the marijuana seized so far is approximately $25,000, Francis said. The $18,000 cash figure includes seizures outside of the three primary arrests in November.

“I believe this is one of the largest drug cases we’ve had the opportunity to work,” Francis said. “And it certainly is when you take into account the impact on the high school.”

Throughout November, multiple search warrants were served in both West Linn and Eugene.

Zorich.

Police said the operation centered around Francesco Zorich, 51, of West Linn. Acting on information that Zorich was selling marijuana and employing West Linn High School students to tend to his grow operation, police served a search warrant Nov. 19 at Zorich’s West Linn home at 1301 Ninth St. and seized nearly 2 pounds of marijuana, more than $3,500 and a .357 Magnum pistol.

Zorich, who does not have any prior offenses according to Francis, was paying for the students’ services with marijuana.

“Based on evidence we have, we know that to be true,” Francis said.

Police found that Zorich was growing marijuana at his home, according to Francis, but the marijuana seized was separate from that grow. Zorich was ultimately charged with delivery of the controlled substance marijuana and delivery of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, and lodged at Clackamas County Jail.

On Nov. 25, police arrested Nick Joscelyn, 20, of West Linn, near the Safeway store at 22000 Salamo Road after he delivered marijuana and other drugs from Eugene to an 18-year-old former West Linn High School student.

Joscelyn.

Police reportedly seized a half pound of marijuana and more than $2,500 from Joscelyn. He was charged with possession and delivery of marijuana and lodged at Clackamas County Jail.

That same night, investigators searched an apartment at 1238 Patterson Alley in Eugene and arrested Connor Krug, 21, of West Linn, on charges of possession and conspiracy to commit delivery of the controlled substances MDMA (commonly known as Ecstasy) and marijuana, as well as delivery of marijuana.

Approximately 1 pound of marijuana and more than $4,100 was reportedly seized from Krug.

Police made a fourth arrest Dec. 4, charging Warren Simon, 18, with distributing marijuana and hash oil to juveniles and adults in West Linn.

Zorich, Joscelyn and Krug have all been released from jail since their arrests. Simon was lodged Wednesday at Clackamas County Jail on $25,000 bail.

Krug.

Many of those identified in the investigation are former and current West Linn High School students. Police said much of the marijuana seized was destined for the high school through a network of dealers from all grade levels.

MDMA, marijuana oil and other controlled substances were included in the investigation as well, according to police.

“I’ve heard numerous kids from inside and out of West Linn High School refer to our town as ‘Weed Linn,’” said Francis, who is a former school resource officer at the high school. “This operation was partially responsible for that by supplying in excess of a pound a week of marijuana into the high school. Many of the arrangements to do deals were done during school hours.”

Simon.

Over the course of the investigation, police found a number of those involved in the delivery of marijuana were a part of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program but were selling to those who were not signed up with the program.

This isn’t the first time WLHS has dealt with drug-related issues. In 2010, a teen was arrested after police found a “candy store of drugs” in his car. Among the drugs found were marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, LSD, hash oil, liquid MDMA, Ecstasy, six bongs, flavored rolling papers and a fake urine kit for passing drug tests.

During that same year, WLHS Principal Lou Bailey spoke out to parents, taking a stance against drug use in the high school. In a letter, Bailey wrote, “We have a drug and alcohol problem and, together, we have to try to do something about it.”

Francis, who served his last year as school resource officer in 2012, said drug arrests at the school decreased dramatically following the 2010 bust, and he only had “two or three” last year.

“I don’t believe it stopped all of the drug use, but it did push kids on the bubble away,” Francis said. “And it also probably pushed things to a more underground level.”

In response to this latest incident, Francis cautioned against jumping to rash conclusions.

“You don’t want to have a knee-jerk reaction,” Francis said. “We’re not raising inmates, we’re raising young adults — critical thinkers.”

He added that potential changes at the high school, like closing campus during school hours, simply wouldn’t work with such a large student body.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: WEST LINN POLICE DEPARTMENT - Police have seized 10 pounds of marijuana as part of an ongoing investigation.

Bailey, for his part, said that as of Tuesday, police had yet to communicate any of the details of the investigation to him.

“I don’t want to be naive and think that it doesn’t happen,” Bailey said. “Have we caught kids dealing drugs here before? Yeah, we have. The frustrating piece is that we didn’t know this was coming.”

Bailey said that, for now, the school will wait for more details to emerge before taking further action.

“Obviously we have a role to play,” Bailey said. “Will this event, however the facts line up, will it spur another kind of surge of passion and energy around protecting our kids? I hope so.

“Our message has been pretty clear. We’re like every high school in the nation: There’s a drug problem. Our message is parent to parent, talking to each other, talking to kids.”

The focus for police going forward will be keeping drugs from entering the high school at all.

“Every law enforcement jurisdiction is very proactive when it comes to enforcing the laws against those that profit from illegal drug sales,” Timeus said. “The three individuals in this case were clearly selling to kids in the West Linn community. ... There are many different opinions as to the use of marijuana and everyone is entitled to their opinions. But I am certain everyone agrees giving or selling drugs to kids is despicable.

“I ensure you that those that have been associating with these drug dealers, buying from these drug dealers or helping these drug dealers can expect a visit from the West Linn Police Department.”

West Linn police will be working with the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office to ensure all offenders involved in this case are prosecuted and given the maximum amount of time in the Oregon prison system that the law allows, according to Timeus.

Patrick Malee can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 106. Follow him on Twitter, @pmalee_wl

Kate Hoots can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 112. Follow her on Twitter, @CommuniKater



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