Agents with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement on Wednesday indicted more than a dozen people for involvement in marijuana growing operations as well as three businesses during a raid they’re calling “Operation Green Reaper.”
Officers with the DEA executed 24 warrants: 14 for homes and 10 for vehicles. Agents confiscated 813 plants – roughly 325 pounds of marijuana – as well as $65,000 in cash.
Several homes not listed on the indictment were also raided early Wednesday. Three Renton residents were arrested.
Asked what means the police used to track down the growing operations, DEA Special Agent in Charge Arnold Moorin replied, “If it was legal and we needed to use it, we did.”
The federal indictments included 14 people, nearly all of Vietnamese descent. Another four were arrested on Wednesday and, as of Wednesday night, still had charges pending.
Tukwila-based Greenhouse Garden Supply and its owner, Quyen the Nguyen of Renton, and Scitek Garden Supply along with its owner, Thiet Van Tran of Seattle, were among those indicted and arrested.
Two other Renton residents were charged, Diep Dac Mach, 44, and Henry Phung, 37.
“They buy nice houses, in nice neighborhoods,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Bartlett said. “They could be your neighbors. They destroy these houses. Suddenly, a nice neighborhood becomes a bad neighborhood.”
Suspects used fraudulent information to obtain loans for the grow houses, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Vogel added.
The indictment lists growers and also people who assisted and enabled them.