By The Chronicle
The Grays Harbor Drug Task Force has raided additional suspected illegal marijuana grows in the county in the days following the execution of 50 search warrants Tuesday in three counties.
On Thursday, investigators searched a residence in Hoquiam, yielding 792 marijuana plants. Later that day in Aberdeen, officers arrested two Chinese nationals at another grow.
On Friday, the Aberdeen Police Department searched another illegal grow in Aberdeen, and the Hoquiam Police Department caught several suspects in the act of dismantling a grow in Hoquiam.
The investigation that led to the raids started when citizens in Grays Harbor County reported possible illegal marijuana grows in the Elma area. After police in McCleary, Aberdeen and Hoquiam also received complaints, the Grays Harbor task force took over the investigation.
In the past four months, the task force learned suspects were buying homes for the purpose of setting up marijuana grows. Most were purchased with cash and the purchases were conducted by “Chinese nationals involved in organized crime,” according to the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office.
“We have received many calls from citizens who have provided valuable information about possible illegal grow sites involving Chinese nationals,” a press release sent Friday by the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office reads. “We ask if anyone has information concerning similar issues to call the Grays Harbor County Communications Center at 360-533-8765.”
Investigators are concerned about grows that are now unattended with heat lamps left on.
“This obviously creates a fire hazard,” the release said.
The busts this week follow previous raids at several grows in Lewis County where Chinese nationals were also arrested.
Law enforcement leaders say it’s part of an ongoing trend they’re seeing in the western United States, where similar operations have been uncovered in Colorado, California and other states.