Snoqualmie police raid marijuana growing operation

Snoqualmie police officers raided a suspected marijuana growing operation Thursday morning, April 9, at a downtown home across Falls Avenue from City Hall.

The tenants, a 42-year-old man and 53-year-old woman, were arrested and will be charged for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a felony charge, according to the police department.

Police officers removed 58 marijuana plants from the house in improvised containers including paint buckets, cat litter tubs and hot chocolate mix tins. The pungent odor of marijuana plants was detectable across the street.

Police had received an anonymous tip a week ago that the suspects, who are married, were growing marijuana. In February, an officer had smelled marijuana at the house while responding to a call at a nearby address. At the time, it had not been enough to act on, but with the tip, the police received a search warrant.

“This is the advantage of having police and the community work together. We can't be everywhere at once,” said Jim Schaffer, Snoqualmie's police chief.

The warrant was served at 11 a.m., with police officers from Issaquah and Washington State Patrol. Around 15 officers, some carrying assault rifles, participated in the raid.

Police arrived in several squad cars and an armored vehicle, which is owned by Snoqualmie. The man was arrested outside, and the woman opened the door for the officers.

“Right across from City Hall, I mean, come on,” Schaffer said.

The police had not had any significant interactions with the tenants before the raid, said Becky Munson, Snoqualmie Police Department's spokeswoman.

The tenants' dog, a golden retriever named Scooby, waited patiently outside while his owners were put in police cars and officers carried plant after plant from the home.

The grow operation had been set up using household equipment, such as space heaters and coil light bulbs. Police pulled very few pieces of specialized equipment from the house.

Nevertheless, several of the plants were very potent.

“Wow,” said Police Support Officer Larry Warren as he bagged the plants as evidence.

Drug use is not a major problem in Snoqualmie Valley, according to Munson.

Snoqualmie police most often encounter marijuana and methamphetamine, she said.

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