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Police bust $50,000 pot grow

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

Under a blazing sun, Federal Way Police detectives Thursday used machetes to hack down marijuana plants worth about $50,000 discovered growing near West Hylebos Park by a city worker conducting a land survey.

Surrounded by grass, thick blackberries, trees and towering fireweed, the 4-foot-tall marijuana plants were healthy and well-tended, detectives said. There were about 50 plants in all, meaning whoever grew them will be facing felony cultivation charges under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

The growers dug out an approximately 12-foot by 45-foot bed about 100 feet from South 356th Street near Pacific Highway South. They planted their crop, fertilized it, tapped into the ground water with a watering tube and used a solar-powered generator to irrigate the plants. They cut down trees to allow more light, and weeded. In about a month, the plants would have produced buds.

“Usually you don’t see outdoor grows this elaborate,” detective Tanith Rogers said.

Police weren’t sure how long the grow operation had been there, but now that they’ve been chopped down, the plants won’t be coming back. Marijuana plants don’t grow back from the roots.

Police found a trail leading from the plant bed, but it only led back to South 356th Street.

A helicopter flew over the area looking for other grows, but none were found. Rogers, the lead detective on the operation, said she wouldn’t be surprised if whoever was responsible for the discovered operation had others. Police didn’t have any suspects, but Rogers will try to pull fingerprints from tools and materials police found at the scene.

The marijuana cut down Thursday afternoon will be dried out and placed into evidence.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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