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Drug Raids Net Hundreds of Marijuana Plants and Thousands in Cash


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Raids by the Eastside Narcotics Task Force on homes in Bellevue, Auburn and Renton turned up marijuana-growing equipment, $187,000 in cash and more than 300 marijuana plants. The Jan. 25 raids followed a five-month investigation of a marijuana growing and money laundering scheme.

Police found more than $6,000 in cash and a set of digital scales, commonly used to weigh drugs, a the Renton house. At the Bellevue house, Police found hundreds of live marijuana plants and an elaborate lighting and ventilation system, powered with stolen electricity. At the Auburn location, investigators found three-quarters of a pound of processed marijuana, growing equipment and more than $174,000 in cash.

Police arrested a 24-year-old Renton man trying to leave the Bellevue home with a pound of processed marijuana. A 41-year-old Auburn man turned himself in.

On Jan. 31, detectives arrested the owner of the Renton home, a 34-year-old Maple Valley man, after they observed him disposing of marijuana-growing equipment from the Renton home. Detectives searched another Renton home and one in Kent associated with the Maple Valley man and found evidence of recent grow operations.

In addition to the plants and growing equipment, detectives found firearms and a stolen generator worth $22,000.

The case began in early September 2006, after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement tipped off the financial investigator for the Eastside Narcotics Task Force that the Bellevue location might be a grow site.

Police say surveillance and research of the people involved and the related locations revealed no reasonable way the owner could be paying the mortgage on all three houses, with a minimal reported income. Additionally, one location listed a business with largely cash deposits, no check deposits, and no reported employees. Finally, investigators could smell marijuana coming from the Bellevue house.

Source: King5.com
Copyright: 2007 King5 News
Contact: http://www.king5.com/localnews/contact
Website: Seattle's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and More | Seattle, Washington | KING5.com
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