The South Snohomish County Narcotics Task Force, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration, served 26 search warrants early Wednesday morning primarily in areas of south Snohomish and north King counties — including several Edmonds homes — breaking up a vast, organized indoor marijuana grow operation.
Numerous marijuana plants were seized during the operation. Many suspects, ranging from 25 to 75 years of age, were arrested and booked for Manufacturing a Controlled Substance/Marijuana, according to Lynnwood Police Department spokeswoman Shannon Sessions.
Search warrants were served at 26 different locations: 25 different homes — including approximately five in Edmonds — and one business located in the 15800 block of Highway 99 in unincorporated Lynnwood.
Undercover detectives have been investigating this organized Vietnamese marijuana growing operation for the past eight months. In November 2009, tips started coming in regarding a couple of the grow houses. Through surveillance and other investigative techniques, undercover detectives connected these locations where search warrants were served Wednesday.
Most of the homes used for the marijuana grows were rental houses. The damage to the homes are considerable and include, but aren’t limited to, holes in sheet rock, possible mold issues, possible chemical spills, electrical diversions and other fire safety issues.
One of the main victims in this type of criminal activity is the Snohomish County Public Utilities District, because these operations steal a large amount of electricity.
This marijuana investigation is one of the biggest for the South Snohomish County Narcotics Task Force, which is made up of detectives from Lynnwood, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace police departments.
These homes are a danger to the community because they are at higher risk to being robbed or burglarized and also being a fire safety issue. From a crime prevention standpoint; neighbors who believe they have a home like this nearby should call 911 to report it.
Possible signs of a home that is growing marijuana:
– It appears not to be lived in but people come by at odd times of the day, stay a short while and then leave again.
– Windows are covered with foil or other material.
– There is a strong smell of marijuana and/or you can hear constant humming sounds.
– Unkempt vehicles or other debris in front of the residence.
Landlords should pay closer attention to renters who always pay cash for their rent and who won’t allow walk-through checks of the rental homes.
DEA is assisting the SSCNTF and Lynnwood Police in this investigation and will determine whether there will be state and/or federal charges in this case. Many other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, along with other agencies such as Child Protective Services and the Snohomish County Public Utilities District participated in Wednesday’s bust.