Crime: Latest Raids Mirror Similar Illegal Activity Discovered Earlier This Year in Lewis County
A team of investigators led by the Grays Harbor County Drug Task Force executed search warrants at suspected marijuana grow operations tended by Chinese nationals in Grays Harbor, Thurston and King counties this week, resulting in the confiscation of an estimated $80 million or more in plants.
Starting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, investigators began executing 50 search warrants. The raids resulted in 44 arrests, 26 vehicle confiscations, and the seizure of guns and other items of value, according to the sheriff’s office.
Marijuana plants, cash, gold and equipment and chemicals were seized after a series of raids in three Western Washington counties Tuesday.
Investigators also found $400,000 in cash and gold and seized 32,449 marijuana plants.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the county’s Joint Narcotic Enforcement team were among more than two dozen agencies participating in Tuesday’s raids.
Illegal marijuana grows involving Chinese nationals in states that have legalized marijuana are becoming increasingly common, said Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate, of the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office.
“Throughout the western United States pretty much any state that’s legal you’ll see there have been big busts,” he said.
While no warrants were served in Lewis County Tuesday, several similar raids have been conducted in the county in the past year.
As of October, JNET had served warrants at five grow operations and seized 6,000 plants since December 2106.
Law enforcement agencies from New York and the East Coast helped local agencies in investigations of marijuana grows in Lewis County, according to information previously provided by JNET.
In late September, JNET executed a similar