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Originally published August 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 30, 2007 at 1:18 PM

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Raids net more than 6,500 marijuana plants in Eastern Washington

More than 6,500 marijuana plants worth an estimated $9.75 million have been seized and 12 people have been arrested in raids in Grant, Kittitas...

YAKIMA — More than 6,500 marijuana plants worth an estimated $9.75 million have been seized and 12 people have been arrested in raids in Grant, Kittitas and Yakima counties, officials said.

Four months of surveillance led to the operations Tuesday by about 60 personnel from 11 law enforcement agencies, the latest in a series of raids on marijuana operations around the state at what is typically the peak of the pot harvest.

Earlier this month nearly 10,000 marijuana plants were seized and two people arrested in an early morning raid on the Colville Indian Reservation.

Less than halfway through the month nearly 80,000 pot plants had been seized in coordinated searches and raids in Yakima, Klickitat, Benton and Skamania counties, including 40,000 plants in a closed area of the Yakama Indian Reservation.

In one of the largest raids Tuesday, more than 4,000 marijuana plants worth an estimated $1,500 each were found growing in five spots in a wooded area northeast of Kittitas toward Whiskey Dick Mountain.

Investigators also used a helicopter to find more than 2,500 marijuana plants with the same value in the lower Crab Creek area outside Beverly and about eight miles north of Mattawa in Grant County.

In a search of five homes in the Mattawa area, investigators found several pounds of processed marijuana awaiting packaging, nearly five pounds of cocaine with an estimated value of $20,000, a pound of methamphetamine valued at $14,000 and more than $135,000 in cash, according a news release from the Grant County sheriff's office.

In some of the homes, marijuana was hanging and drying in children's bedrooms, deputies wrote.

Twelve people were arrested and jailed in Grant County for investigation of charges involving possession, distribution and manufacture of illegal drugs.

At a home in Sunnyside in Yakima County, agents found six growing marijuana plants, nine other plants hanging and drying and three pounds of marijuana ready to be packaged. No one was home, but arrest warrants are expected, deputies said.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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