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A black market grow near Easton was taken down in an interagency effort, yielding 2,522 plants.

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Kittitas County Sheriff’s deputies worked with members of Grant County’s Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (INET), the Washington State Patrol’s Marijuana Eradication Team (MET) and the Department of Ecology to serve a search warrant on a suspected illegal marijuana grow in the Easton area on Friday.

According to a KCSO press release, three subjects were taken into custody. All three were licensed residents of states in the Eastern U.S. Investigators believe the operation was geared toward the export of marijuana to states where it remains illegal and likely has ties to organized crime.

The release said such operations often include illegal and unsafe electrical systems and the use of hazardous and toxic chemicals. Waste and runoff are frequently disposed of in ways that threaten the community and the environment.

“I appreciate the professionalism of the teams that supported this operation and ensured its safe execution,” said Sheriff Clay Myers. “Criminals routinely work across county and state lines. When law enforcement agencies also cooperate across county and jurisdictional lines, we make all of our communities safer.”

In comments to the Daily Record, Myers said his office has received feedback questioning why resources would be diverted towards operations that involve a product legal for recreational consumption. He said black market operations like the Easton incident bring an organized crime element into the county that can invite other forms of criminal activity to the area, adversely affecting the overall quality of life for county residents.

“There’s a lot more to think about than just the end product of these grows,” Myers said.

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