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Redmond Man Arrested After an Attempted Hemp Farm Robbery and Pursuit
On December 25, 2018 at approximately 12:25PM, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to a trespass in progress at 500 block of NE O’Neil Way. The victim and reporting party told Deschutes County 911 dispatchers that he was holding two trespassers at gunpoint after confronting them on their licensed industrial hemp farm. The trespasser’s truck became stuck on rocks during the confrontation. The driver, later identified as, Mitchell Bruce Ballard, Jr., age 31 of Redmond, Oregon was able to remove the truck from the rocks and fled before law enforcement could arrive. An Oregon State Police Trooper spotted the truck leaving the area and pursued it for several minutes before discontinuing the pursuit in the interest of public safety. DCSO Deputies and Detectives saturated the area and located Ballard and a woman in the public lands behind the Negus Landfill Transfer Station with the truck. After a short foot pursuit, Ballard was detained. The woman has been identified, however remains at large. Her identity is being withheld as the investigation continues. During the initial investigation, it was determined that Ballard and the woman entered an industrial hemp farm with the intent to steal, what they believed was, marijuana. Industrial hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. Although it does contain minute amounts of THC, industrial hemp does not have the impairing effects of marijuana. When confronted by the property owners, Ballard produced a weapon and threatened the owners. The property owners lawfully defended themselves with firearms and attempted to detain Ballard and the woman until law enforcement arrived. Ballard crashed into the property owner’s vehicles when he fled, causing substantial damage. Ballard Jr. was lodged in the Deschutes County Jail on the following charges; Attempt to Elude – Felony Robbery I Reckless Endangering x3 Criminal Mischief I x2 Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver – Misd x2 Criminal Trespass II DCSO Deputies and Detectives are attempting to contact and interview the woman involved in this case. More information may be released when it becomes available. CONTACT FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Sgt. William Bailey, Public Information Officer, 541-388-6655 or SheriffPIO@deschutes.org The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is a full service organization providing patrol, criminal investigations, corrections, civil and search and rescue. Special operations include Marine Patrol, ATV Patrol, Forest Patrol, along with four K9 units. Founded in 1916 and today directed by Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves the more than 185,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 230 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 180 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County.