ALOHA, Ore. (KOIN) — Six different agencies raided 14 homes in the area Thursday in an effort to end a pot-growing operation agents believe is linked to organized crime.
Washington County sheriff’s deputies swarmed an Aloha neighborhood in the 1300 block of Southwest 213th Avenue and descended on one house that investigators said was part of the grow operation.
Inside the house, authorities said they found wall-to-wall marijuana plants.
“The whole upstairs, four bedrooms, each bedroom was a different stage in the growing process,” said Washington County Sgt. Bob Ray. “Everywhere from infant baby plants to the drying room.”
Plants, grow lights, fans filters and other evidence were loaded up into a truck.
Ray said, “We believe this was going on for four to five years and they were making more than $1 million per year, tax free.”
Officers detained and questioned 32 people but made no arrests. That’s because each case likely will be taken before a grand jury.
Authorities received a tip in December and their investigation led them to 12 houses in Washington County and two in Portland. Ray said those involved were abusing Oregon’s medical marijuana program. Some had medical marijuana cards, he said, but were growing more than they were allowed, then shipping it to other states.
Investigators believe these illegal transactions had been going on for years, distributing 40 to 50 pounds of pot each month — for up to $100,000 in profit.
A fifteenth house was also under investigation, but that Aloha house caught fire earlier this week. More than 200 plants were removed from that house, authorities said.
Neighbors in the Aloha area told KOIN 6 News the street is quiet and friendly. Word of the drug bust shocked them.
Roger Butzer said he had “no idea at all” an illegal grow operation was in the neighborhood. Another resident, Bill Jette, said simply, “Mind blown.”
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