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PORTLAND -- The FBI is investigating the destruction of genetically engineered sugar beets in southern Oregon.

FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele says the damage occurred this month on private farmland in Jackson County that's leased and managed by the Swiss-based company Syngenta.

Roughly 1,000 sugar beet plants were destroyed on June 8 and more than 5,000 plants were destroyed on a different plot three nights later.

Steele did not put a dollar figure on the loss, but says the FBI considers it a case of economic sabotage.

Also: Gene-altered wheat found growing in E. Oregon

More: Japan suspends some wheat imports over gene altering

Related: Farmers sue over genetically modified wheat

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