A search warrant served in Monroe on Thursday yielded about 10 pounds of reportedly stolen marijuana. (North Snohomish County property crimes unit)

Marijuana donated to Goodwill could be from robberies

MONROE — The story went viral online. Then it turned sinister.

Around 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, Monroe police got a call from the Goodwill on Chain Lake Road. There were questions about a cooler that had been donated.

Officer Jake Eriks went to check it out.

When he got back, “All of the officers went, ‘Are you kidding?’,” said Debbie Willis, a police department administrator. “They came and got me right away. ‘Debbie, you won’t believe what we just picked up.’”

They walked her outside and lifted the lid. Inside were 3.75 pounds of processed marijuana, separated into clear plastic bags. Monroe police estimate the stash had a value of $24,000.

The department’s Facebook and Twitter posts about the find reached tens of thousands of people. Willis received calls from CNN and “Inside Edition.”

The story caught the attention of the north Snohomish County property crimes unit, a regional team of detectives. They have been working a long-term investigation with Seattle police into a series of home-invasion robberies and pot dispensary holdups and burglaries. They suspect a group of armed bandits are working together. The group reportedly tried unsuccessfully to break into a state-licensed cannabis farm in north Snohomish County on March 2.

On Thursday, the detectives served a search warrant along 160th Street SE in Monroe. They were joined by Monroe officers, a SWAT team and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They recovered about 10 pounds of marijuana along with guns, said Marysville police Sgt. Jim Maples, who was part of the investigation.

When they learned about the pot that had been donated to Goodwill two days earlier, “that is just too coincidental,” he said.

The Goodwill pot and the pot recovered through the search warrant appear to have similar markings on the bags, he said. Police have not confirmed the connection or determined exactly how the cooler ended up at the secondhand store.

An 18-year-old Monroe woman was arrested Thursday as part of the case, Maples said. A 20-year-old man had been arrested previously in Lynnwood and was charged last week with robbery and burglary. Prosecutors allege that he and others wore masks while pointing pistols at staff inside a Seattle pot store on Feb. 21, according to the King County charges. A heist reportedly involving the same suspects happened days later in a Seattle home where a 4-year-old was sleeping.

Details on other incidents believed to be the group’s handiwork were not provided Thursday. Additional arrests are expected, Maples said.

The new developments provided some possible answers for Monroe police. However, they’d still like to understand how and why the pot got donated. ”You always want to know the rest of the story,” Willis said.

On Wednesday, officer Eriks was following up on the surveillance video from the Goodwill. He learned that the donations during the time period in question included a load from a drop-off trailer in Snohomish. There was no video of the trailer donation site.

Usually, any unclaimed marijuana in Monroe police custody is destroyed in a fire, about once a year.

“We have not seen anyone walk in the front door and say, ‘That’s my cooler,’” Willis said. “We really don’t expect anybody to do that.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rikkiking.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Snohomish Historical Preservation Commission member Fred Cruger with his dog, Duffy, in Arlington along one of the history walk sections at Centennial Trail. The event will be up through September. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Discover local history as you walk the Centennial Trail

Take a smartphone quiz as you stroll the trail. If you answer every question correctly, you’ll win a prize.

Yes, you could get the flu and COVID-19, so get a flu shot

Flu season officially starts Oct. 1, but shots are available now. Experts recommend not waiting.

Economic Alliance and Lynnwood offer new business grants

The grants are derived from the federal Coronavirus Assistance, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Whidbey school fundraisers say they were stiffed on proceeds

The foundation says it raised $7,000 but hasn’t received the money from Brown Paper Tickets.

Way to go

Two awarded horticultural scholarship; Camano racer wins big

Possible rare ‘seven-armed octopus’ found on Whidbey beach

Scientists from across the nation believe it’s most likely a specimen of Haliphron atlanticus.

Don’t miss out on up to $1,800 in unemployment back pay

The state says its ready to send out payments from a federal program. Certification is due Sunday.

Running for a dream, Tulalip man helping people with autism

Tyler Fryberg and his former teacher finish 1,000-mile challenge to support Leah’s Dream nonprofit.

Everett to consider allowing three more pot shops in city

After months of economic, planning and public safety review, the city council could vote next month.

Most Read