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Seattle police seize 2600 illegal marijuana plants, refuse to arrest owners

Published time: June 05, 2014 18:37
AFP Photo / Pablo Porciuncula

AFP Photo / Pablo Porciuncula

Police in Seattle, Washington, have seized what’s being described as an “unprecedented number of illegally-grown marijuana plants.” In a twist on the typical raid story, though, not a single person was arrested.

Although well over 2,000 plants were discovered, police decided to leave behind more 100 so that the growers could continue operating their medical marijuana farms under the state's legal limits.

According to the Seattle Times, the Seattle Police Narcotics Unit and Anti-Crime conducted their operation in the western part of the city, where officers discovered 2,663 marijuana plants and 86 pounds of processed marijuana spread across three different locations. Two of the grows were found at local households, while another was located in a warehouse.

In a statement released by Seattle police, officer Drew Fowler noted that more than 2,200 pot plants were found in the warehouse alone, a huge number that dwarfs the 45 permitted for medical marijuana grows under Washington state law. Another 206 and 227 plants were confiscated in each of the two houses.

The investigation began after local residents complained to police about an overwhelming smell in the area. After receiving warrants, law enforcement officials searched the houses and the warehouse, which they believed were being run “under the guise of a medical marijuana collective.”

As noted by the Times, police also believe the operations were being run by the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary, who allegedly grew the plants and sold them on his own. If true, that behavior would be in violation of Washington’s collective gardens regulations.

Still, no one was arrested in connection to the raid, and police left 45 plants behind at each location – as well as a total of 72 ounces of processed marijuana – even allowing the growers to choose which plants they preferred to keep.

“Detectives were interested only in bringing the operation back under the limits of state law, and in addition to leaving plants and equipment at the scenes, also opted not to book anyone involved in the operation into jail,” Fowler wrote in a statement.

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