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Police dig up pot patch

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SNOQUALMIE — A marijuana crop with an approximate street


value of $72,000 was discovered by Snoqualmie police Aug. 3.


A caller tipped off the Snoqualmie Department of Public


Safety-Police Division the previous week to two other sites, which had already


been harvested when they arrived. But when officers flew over to search


for more crops, they spotted the 36-plant patch carved out of a


blackberry thicket, just a few yards from the Snoqualmie Valley Trail near


Mount Si Golf Course.


"It's very hard to locate those kind of grow operations in that terrain,"


said Don Isley, chief of the Snoqualmie Department of Public Safety. "But


we haven't come across one (this size) in a few years."


The patch of vacant land, owned by the city of Snoqualmie, was so


isolated that officers used a backhoe to cut a path through vines to reach the


4 to 5-foot-high illegal foliage.


The Police Department is currently investigating the case, but does


not have any suspects.


Anyone found to be growing or manufacturing the drug for


distribution could be charged with a felony and be subjected to a jail sentence


of up to five years and thousands of dollars in fines, depending on the


amount found.


"It probably would have been harvested in another month or two,"


said Officer Paul Graham, part of the team that confiscated the evidence.


Graham added that one crop is usually part of a larger operation


that requires regular maintenance; clearing land, planting, watering and


harvesting.


Isley said he's glad to have found the plants before they were turned


into a product that could be sold in the community.


Officials of neighboring city North Bend said it has been a few years


since they've found any large outdoor marijuana crops.


Sergeant Grant Stewart of the King County Sheriff's North Bend


substation said indoor marijuana production is more commonplace in the Valley.


"We're always interested in confiscating any marijuana patch


and would follow up any leads we get," he said. "But as far as actively


beating the brush for finding grow operations, there is no information to indicate


that (need)."


Anyone with information on the Snoqualmie marijuana crop, or


its owners, should call the Snoqualmie police station at (425) 888-3333.

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