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Man arrested at Mill Creek marijuana operation dies in his jail cell

The suspect was arrested after police responding to a domestic violence call found a drug operation at his home.

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By Eric Stevick
Herald Writer
EVERETT -- A Mill Creek man was found dead in his Snohomish County jail cell Wednesday, hours after a court appearance in a drug case.
"It appears to be a suicide based on a preliminary investigation," Snohomish County Sheriff's Office Chief Kevin Prentiss said Thursday.
The man, 32, was discovered unresponsive and hanging from a hook in his cell with a sheet tied around his neck, Prentiss said.
Corrections deputies immediately began CPR efforts and called for medical assistance. Everett medics tried advanced lifesaving measures, but were unsuccessful, Prentiss said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Corrections staff checked on the man at 3:50 p.m. and saw no unusual signs of activity, Prentiss said. He was discovered unresponsive at 4:27 p.m. during another check.
The man and his wife were arrested Tuesday morning after a domestic violence call led to the discovery of marijuana plants and drugs. The man allegedly was hiding in a crawl space with a hunting rifle.
His wife told 911 dispatchers that the man had assaulted her and driven away. She said she was at their home on 43rd Avenue SE with her 17-month-old daughter.
When police arrived, the woman refused to cooperate or to give a statement, police said.
Officers did, however, notice a strong smell of marijuana in the home, according to court papers.
They came back later to see if the man had returned.
They kept surveillance outside while they waited for a judge to sign a search warrant.
Officers found the man in a crawl space. When he came out, they found a loaded hunting rifle in his hiding spot.
Police also found 66 marijuana plants, as well as marijuana-growing lights and equipment. In addition, they found heroin, cocaine, prescription pain killers and nearly $19,000 in cash, according to a police affidavit.
They also recovered a shotgun and five handguns, at least one of which had been reported stolen locally. They found stockpiled ammunition.
The man was a felon and was barred from possessing firearms. He was being held for investigation of manufacturing marijuana, illegally possessing firearms and various other crimes, court records show. He also was being investigated for fourth-degree domestic violence assault.
The woman, 25, was being held for investigation of drug-related crimes and possessing a stolen firearm. She was released on personal recognizance after a brief hearing Thursday.
Sheila Olson of Everett called The Herald on Thursday morning and said she is the dead man's cousin.
She said she hopes there is a thorough investigation into his death.
He had been in court earlier Wednesday and had retained a private attorney to represent him at a bail hearing Thursday.
"Why would he hire a private attorney if he planned to do that?" she asked.
Detectives with the sheriff's office Major Crimes Unit are handling the investigation, which is standard procedure when there is a death at the jail. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner also is investigating the cause and manner of death.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446;
Story tags » EverettMill CreekCrime

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