Illegal South Hill-area grow operations had more than 2,000 pot plants, charges say

Investigators found more than 2,000 marijuana plants this week at illegal grow operations in the South Hill area, according to charging papers.

They believed the marijuana was being grown to be sent to states where possession of the drug remains a crime, court records say.

According to charging papers filed in Pierce County Superior Court:

Sheriff’s investigators did surveillance of the suspect properties and vehicles and looked at power records as part of their case.

They served search warrants Monday and found a house in the 12500 block of state Route 162 had 1,430 marijuana plants and 90 starter plants that weren’t rooted.

There also was more than 100 pounds of vacuum sealed marijuana bud.

“The officers found and dismantled shielded grow lights, flood tables, oscillating fans mounted on the walls, carbon filters, water reservoirs, submersible pumps, timers, ballasts, electrical control boxes mounted in rooms throughout the house, digital timers, fertilizers, used and discarded grow cubes, new grow cubes, reflective sheeting on the walls, rooting hormone, vacuum sealers with bags, various growing chemicals and pesticides,” the declaration for determination of probable cause reads.

They took a safe to be opened later.

Investigators arrested a 39-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman at that home.

They also arrested a 51-year-old man at a home in the 12400 block of Tatoosh Road East, where they found 600 plants.

They dismantled similar equipment as at the other home.

“The laundry room had been converted into a drying room with two dehumidifiers and a hanging system,” the probable cause document says.

Officers also seized multiple vehicles.

The three suspects pleaded not guilty at arraignment Tuesday to unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance.

Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering courts in 2016. Before that she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as The News Tribune’s night reporter.