Whitman Co. pot bust raises questions for drug task force

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by OTHELLO RICHARDS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Updated Friday, May 9 at 10:07 AM

WHITMAN COUNTY, Wash. -- A drug task force busted a large marijuana growing operation in Whitman County. Authorities said they found more than 400 plants at the property 25 miles west of Colfax in Lacrosse.

Authorities arrested Mark Brown and Peter Manning for their involvement in the grow operation. They are facing charges for illegally growing marijuana.

One of the suspects said he had a medical condition and that is why he was growing the marijuana. The Whitman County Sheriff, Brett Myers said the grow operation appeared unlawful.

“They didn’t have any authorization, obviously, to be growing. They were not within the scope of the medical marijuana laws either in the terms of having the proper documentation and they were well over the number of plants allowed by law,” said Sheriff Myers.

KREM 2 on Your Side talked to authorities to find out what the plan will be for cases like this when the production of marijuana becomes legal.

Sheriff Myers said the drug task force will continue to be vigilant when investigating potentially illegal grow operations even when the state permits the growth of recreational pot.

“My guess, these are the kinds of things we will see in counties throughout the state, in all of Eastern Washington counties. I think this is a concern that every sheriff and most of your police chiefs have had concerns over,” Sheriff Myers said.

The judge released Brown and Manning without bail Thursday. Prosecutors planned to formally charge them within three days.

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