A 37-year-old Missouri man was arrested Tuesday night for trying to smuggle five pounds of high-grade marijuana into the national Rainbow Gathering encampment near Heart's Content.
Bruce H. Runion, Jr. was charged with 11 felony counts by the Warren County District Attorney's Office after he was stopped by U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers on Heart's Content Road and found to be in possession of five pounds of marijuana packaged in vacuum-packed plastic bags.
According to county D.A. Ross McKiernan, the arrest was made following a joint investigation by the Warren County Drug Task Force and U.S. Forest Service law enforcement.
Times Observer photo by Dean Wells
Drug bust in the ANF
Local and federal law enforcement intercepted five pounds of high grade marijuana destined for the Rainbow encampment near Heart’s Content Tuesday night. A suspect was arrested in the Allegheny National Forest on Heart’s Content Rd. and charged with 10 felonies by the county’s District Attorney’s Office. He was allegedly using UPS to deliver the marijuana to an address in the county. Shown are U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers Chad Krogstad and Weldon Young; Warren County chief deputy and county detective Ken Klakamp; and U.S. Forest Service Special Agent Bill Mickle.
Runion was allegedly using UPS to ship the marijuana into the county from a supplier in northern California.
"The moral of this is be a good camper," McKiernan said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Allegheny National Forest headquarters in North Warren.
Investigators received information on June 22 that Runion had allegedly approached a local resident for the purpose of using the person's address to have marijuana shipped in via UPS. Police say Runion made 11 phone calls to a drug supplier in California between June 22 and 29.
On June 29, at approximately 5:10 p.m., police say Runion received a package containg about five pounds of marijuana from Hayfolk, Calif. A vehicle used to transport the marijuana from Warren to the Rainbow encampment was stopped by U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers. Officers used a K-9 dog to inspect the vehicle. The drugs were discovered and seized, while Runion was taken into custody by the county's Drug Task Force officers.
Runion was arraigned before District Magistrate Arthur Zerbe. He was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy and 11 counts of criminal use of a communications facility. He was remanded to the Warren County Jail in lieu of bail.
The county's Drug Task Force and U.S. Forest Service were assisted in the investigation by Warren City Police and Warren County Sheriff's deputies.
According to McKiernan, the investigation into drugs being smuggled into the Rainbow encampment is ongoing.
McKiernan warned those attending the Rainbow gathering to take any criminal element that might have drifted into the camp along with them when the gathering breaks up in early July.
"They always leave a little human riff raff behind," McKiernan said. "We'd like it if they took them with them when they leave. Be a good camper take your refuse and your riff raff."