CENTRALIA, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say investigators have raided suspected marijuana grow operations involving Chinese nationals in Western Washington, resulting in the confiscation of an estimated $80 million or more in plants.
The Chronicle reports the team of over two dozen agencies led by the Grays Harbor County Drug Task Force began executing 50 search warrants Tuesday in Grays Harbor, Thurston and King counties.
The Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office says the raids resulted in 44 arrests, 26 vehicle confiscations and the seizure of guns and other items. Investigators say they also found $400,000 in cash and gold and seized 32,449 marijuana plants.
Authorities say the investigation began after residents reported possible grows in the Elma, Aberdeen and Hoquiam areas.
The sheriff’s office says investigators believe Chinese nationals involved in organized crime were buying homes mostly with cash to set up the marijuana grows.