Warrants Turn Up Stolen Property

Article excerpt

Byline: Rebecca Nolan The Register-Guard

WESTLAKE - More than $75,000 in stolen property - some of it buried underground - has been recovered from a home that investigators believe was the center of a methamphetamine-selling operation.

Detectives from the Lane County Sheriff's Office, Florence police and the Oregon State Police have served two search warrants at the house at 83343 N. Pioneer Road in Westlake, near Florence. The first search was done Nov. 16, the second on Wednesday.

The house belongs to Michael John Watts, 49, who was arrested during the November search with five other people found at the house. Investigators arrested another six people that day who arrived at the home allegedly to buy methamphetamine or trade stolen property for the drug, sheriff's Deputy Paul Vitus said.

"We had people coming up to buy meth with police cars parked out there," Vitus said. "We had a couple cars bring stolen property to trade for dope."

Lane County detectives had heard that Watts and his associates might be selling drugs and storing stolen property at the home, but didn't have enough probable cause to get a search warrant. So they started talking to members of the Douglas County Interagency Narcotics Team. …