Local police, sheriffs serve warrants and arrest 6 Friday

Police request county Special Response Team for June 22 incident

June 23, 2018 — On June 22, a pair of search warrant executions escalated into a full police presence that included officers from Florence Police Department, Lane County Sheriff’s Office and the Lane County Special Response Team (SRT) at a pair of residences just north of Florence.

At about 7:15 a.m., neighbors along Highway 101 near Friendly Acres Road reported hearing what they believed to be gun shots coming from a home at 88359 Highway 101 as Florence police and its partner agencies executed search warrants simultaneously at that residence and a nearby home at 5459 Friendly Acres Road.

The gun shots that residents heard were actually “flash bangs,” which officers used to disorient occupants of the homes after gaining entry, according to City of Florence Public Information Officer Megan Messmer.

By 10 a.m., the operation had been completed and six individuals had been arrested for counts ranging from illegal drug possession to felon in possession of a firearm.

Those arrested included charges for:

  • Brooke Bales — Possession of a Controlled Substance (PSC) for Methamphetamines and Frequenting a Place Controlled Substances are Used
  • John Barron— Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Justin Thompson — PSC for Heroin, Frequenting a Place Controlled Substances are Used and Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Michael Bechtold — Attempting PCS for Heroin, and PSC-Schedule III Drug
  • Brianna Mill — PSC for Heroin and Frequenting a Place Controlled Substances are Used
  • Kenneth Hammerberg — Frequenting a Place Controlled Substances are Used

According to officials, the investigation is ongoing and those who have been charged may receive additional charges as the investigation continues.

Police say there may be more arrests as well. 

“We are thankful that many people got the message to stay away from the active location,” said Sgt. Carrie Carver with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. “When people hear about an event like this, they sometimes like to go there. We prefer the exact opposite. Our jobs are much more difficult with a large audience.”

Though the activity had a large presence along Highway 101, Messmer said there was no danger to the public during the arrests, and Highway 101 remained open during the incident.

Residents and travelers continued to see a police presence in the area for several hours after the arrests.


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