By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
LYNNWOOD — They would meet in parking lots along Highway 99 in Lynnwood and Edmonds.
He’d pull up in his blue Mazda Miata or a red Lexus.
She would be waiting with money to make the buy.
After a while, the man, who called himself “Billy Bud,” started throwing in a specially wrapped chocolate chip cookie laced with marijuana. That was a treat, he told her, he only gave to his best customers. He also offered to set the woman up with the tools and expertise to start her own pot-growing operation — provided he would get a cut of the profits.
That’s the story spelled out in court papers against one of nine suspects in a large marijuana grow operation taken down by law officers Tuesday.
The buyer turned out to be an undercover detective from the Snohomish County Regional Drug and Gang Task Force.
The suspect, 40, was arrested for investigation of several counts of selling and possessing marijuana.
Federal and county drug agents raided 10 homes, including ones where the man frequently stayed.
They uncovered a large growing operation in a house on the 6600 block of 192nd Place SW in Lynnwood.
A second home in Lynnwood, this one in the 6400 block of 188th St. SW, yielded 35 plants and three pounds of marijuana.
In a third home in Shoreline, they reportedly found 96 plants and 21 pounds of processed marijuana.
Agents served search warrants served warrants in Snohomish and King counties. They seized $78,000 in cash, seven vehicles and two firearms.
Five of the suspects made appearances in Everett District Court on Wednesday. Bail was set for four of the men in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $80,000. A fifth suspect’s bail hearing was postponed a day so the court could find a Vietnamese interpreter.
The arrests follow a familiar pattern that has emerged in recent years: organized drug traffickers establishing sophisticated pot-growing operations in suburban neighborhoods. Five of the homes were in the Lynnwood area. Residences in Edmonds, Bothell, Shoreline and Renton also were searched.
Regional drug task force Cmdr. Pat Slack said the arrests followed a three-year investigation into an organization growing and distributing marijuana on a large scale. The case involved several agencies, including the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the IRS, the South Snohomish County Drug Task Force, the Everett Police Department and the Washington State Patrol.
Agents showed up at a home in the 20100 block of Eighth Place W. in Lynnwood where they found two brothers inside, along with 74 plants and about seven pounds of processed marijuana. They allegedly told authorities they were given a rent-free home if they tended the growing operation.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; email@example.com.