"Pot operation bustedA basement greenhouse included sophisticated lights, vents and security."
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:41 PM
"More than 180 marijuana plants, some 4-5-feet in height, were seized in a raid on a south Bainbridge home Friday morning.A 44-year-old male resident was arrested, shutting down what police called a highly sophisticated growing operation.It's a major, major bust, Bainbridge Police Chief Bill Cooper said.The raid concluded a three-year investigation by the WestNet drug-enforcement team. Acting on a search warrant Friday, 15 officers raided the home in the 4200 block of Bluff Lane, near Pleasant Beach. The house had been buttressed with stout bars and locks to the point that attempts to break down the front door with a battering ram failed, Cooper said.The suspect, who at first declined to admit officers to the residence, then agreed to let them in and was taken into custody without incident.In the basement - in a concealed room reportedly accessed through a hole in a concrete wall - officers found what was described as an underground greenhouse served by artificial lighting, venting and various security measures.Of the plants seized, 80 were mature and ready for harvest. Total value was estimated at $180,000; the operation could have turned out $80,000 worth of plants every two months, police said.Cash found on the residence totaled just $110; a single weapon was seized, a .22 caliber rifle.The suspect, who had no prior criminal record, was arrested on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance and taken to Kitsap County Jail. No other arrests were made or expected.It was unclear how the growing operation fit into the illicit drug trade on Bainbridge Island.His response was that it was for personal use, Cooper said. With an operation this size, we know it was being distributed somewhere. We just don't know where. "