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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
August 30, 2004

For More Information Contact:

Thomas P. O’Brien
Public Information Officer
509-353-2906

65,000 Marijuana Plants Seized– 3 Arrested

On Monday, August 30, 2004, John M. Bott, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Seattle Field Division, announced the seizure of one of the largest domestic marijuana grows in recent years. The seizure was part of a multi-agency marijuana eradication effort being currently conducted throughout the state of Washington.

On 08/26/2004 and 08/27/2004, agents from the DEA Yakima and Spokane Resident Offices, Washington State Patrol, City County Narcotic Unit (CCNU), Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD), Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE), Bureau of Indian Affairs and Yakama Nation Tribal Police eradicated a marijuana field consisting of 29,000 mature marijuana plants. The marijuana field in question was located in Klickitat County and on Yakama Nation Tribal Lands.

During eradication operations, DEA air support discovered two additional marijuana fields. On 08/30/04, agents eradicated the two additional marijuana fields. It is estimated that the two additional marijuana fields consist of approximately 40,000 mature marijuana plants. This brings the total seizure in this investigation in excess of 65,000 plants. A value of the seized marijuana is estimated at approximately $35 million.

During the course of the investigation, three individuals were apprehended at the grow site. Further investigation identified four camp sites in the area. These camps were being utilized by individuals who had been hired to oversee the grow operations. Recent intelligence determined that these individuals were being paid as much as $100 a day. The fields were also equipped with an elaborate irrigation system and each individual plant had its own drip system. Arrested at the scene were:

Ricardo Rodriguez, age 27 of Jalisco, Mexico
Mario Rodriguez, age 33 of Jalisco, Mexico
Francisco Davila, age 27 of Jalisco, Mexico

Suspects are charged with Manufacturing, Conspiracy and a United States Immigration violation of Entry into the United States without Inspection.

Suspects are incarcerated at the Yakima County Jail pending their first appearance in Federal Magistrates Court, Yakima, Washington on Wednesday, September 1, 2004.

John M. Bott, DEA - Special Agent in Charge, Seattle Field Division stated that, “Experience has shown that drug enforcement efforts such as these have a positive result on overall crime rates. DEA understands that cooperation among law enforcement is the essential ingredient for a recipe of success. Working with federal, state and local partners across this region continues to result in successful approaches to crime and drug trafficking problems that plague far too many communities.”

For additional information regarding this investigation contact DEA Yakima Resident Office, Resident Agent in Charge Meliton Rodriguez at 509-454-4407.

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law

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