The Grant County Sheriff’s department along with several other state and federal agencies got a tip about possible illegal marijuana growing operations in several counties,
“The tips that came in that they had marijuana being grown next to the residence so we checked into it. One thing lead to another and we discovered that people were being for lack of a better word lied to and presented false documentation and promised money for people to grow marijuana on their property, " said Grant County Special Operations Chief Ryan Rectenwald
A massive illegal grow op and they'd perfected the scam. A grower shows up with documentation and leases land from the owners. Moving from the mountains down onto farmland. It'd be perfect, if it was aboveboard but it's not. It is however, very lucrative, “Typically people don't get offered ten thousand dollars to grow marijuana on their property and that's not normal nor legal." Rectenwald added.
In total 41,000 pounds of pot has been seized. This pot was never intended for the store shelves of Washington marijuana retailers. The illegal crop was headed for people on the East Coast of The United States, “It's being sent through the same pipeline as cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. So it comes along with the same problems as the rest of the drugs.” Rectenwald said.
Also seized in the raids were 56 guns ranging from pistols to AR-15’s and AK-47's. Some of the weapons seized were fully automatic and were found along with boxes of ammunition. Enough ammunition to equip a small army. Law enforcement had to bring in a special unit from the United States Army that deals with hazardous materials to properly remove all of the toxic chemicals used to grow the illegal pot. Twenty four people were arrested. Some were in the country illegally, “Two dozen plus arrests anywhere from illegal growing obviously growing of marijuana to immigration holds to illegal firearms, stolen fire arms you name it,” said Rectenwald
Also seized during these raids were 55,000 dollars in cash, multiple vehicles and backhoes.