The Tacoma Police Department have served warrants on six houses suspected of illegally growing marijuana, packaging it and distributing it nationally as part of an organized crime operation. With the assistance of six other agencies, the houses were served simultaneously, suspects were arrested, and the illegal marijuana and associated grow-equipment will be confiscated.
None of the homes are licensed marijuana growing operations, per the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. The homes are located in separate neighborhoods within Pierce County in the 1100 block of E 55th St., 1300 block of E 48th St., 5500 block of E. E St., 6900 block of S. Tyler St., 7900 block of Portland Ave. and the 8200 block of 20th Ave. E.
The homes had been converted to grow a large number of plants. Growing large quantities of plants indoors can create hazardous living conditions for occupants such as faulty or improper wiring, dangerous construction and large quantities of chemicals improperly stored in the living space. Neighborhoods are also affected by the improper venting of chemical and plant odors.
The investigation was initiated when a citizen reported a possible burglary in progress of a neighboring home. Tacoma Police responded and determined a burglary had occurred. The officers discovered the house was a covert marijuana growing operation.
The investigation revealed the occupants of this house were associated with a number of houses in the area. Investigators learned that a group of individuals in the organization purchased residences in single family home neighborhoods and converted them to illicit marijuana growing operations where marijuana was grown and harvested. The marijuana is suspected of being transported out of state for distribution and sale.
The Tacoma Police Department made the arrests with the assistance of The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, The Drug Enforcement Administration and The Federal Bureau of Investigation.