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Deputies arrest 2 men, seize marijuana plants
Island County detectives arrested two Langley-area men last Thursday in connection with one of the largest marijuana growing operations found on South Whidbey in some years.
Four Island County detectives who raided the Mardell Drive home of Charles Williams that day found 211 marijuana plants growing in a fifth-wheel trailer on the property the man rents. Williams, 45, and his alleged associate, Jamie Hall, 40, were arrested at the scene.
The mid-morning drug bust came after the Island County Sheriff's Office received a tip through the Washington State Patrol drug tipline, said Sgt. Detective Russ Lindner. Detectives staked out the mobile home for several days, then made their arrests Thursday after obtaining a search warrant. Lindner said the warrant was granted after detectives discovered the odor of live marijuana plants.
Detective Bob Clark, who was part of the team that made the bust, said the plants seized by his agency carry a street value of about $1,000 each. Growing under bright, warm lights in the fifth wheel, the plants were being grown in batches, Clark said. About a third of the plants were seedlings, another third were juvenile plants, while another third were adult plants ready for harvest.
Seized in addition to the plants were grow lights, fans, potting soil, packaging equipment, a bag of dried marijuana Lindner said was ready for sale, scales and a shotgun.
Lindner said the find was one of the largest in recent memory.
"We haven't seen one that size in a while," he said.
Though both Williams and Hall were arrested, jailed, then later released on their own recognizance, drug unit detectives are still investigating the case. Linder said the grow could tie into a larger drug manufacturing organization.
"It may have ties outside the county," he said.
The property on which the marijuana was found is owned by an absentee landlord who lives in Sequim, Lindner said. Williams is a renter, while Hall resides at another Langley-area address.