Cops find attic pot crop in Oak Harbor
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
May 13, 2011 · 4:31 PM
A team of Whidbey Island law enforcement officers uncovered a large marijuana grow operation in the cramped attic of a home just outside Oak Harbor Thursday morning.
The police arrested two residents of the home and seized more than 263 pot plants.
Detective Carl Seim, the drug enforcement officer for the Oak Harbor Police Department, said he and an agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service had been keeping tabs on the house on Best Road for the last few months.
Then recently, Seim received enough information from a confidential source that he was able to obtain a search warrant on the house. Thursday morning, the Island County Sheriff’s Hard Entry and Arrest Team served the search warrant, along with investigators from the Oak Harbor Police Department and NCIS.
Seim said he noticed the overwhelming odor of marijuana outside the house.
“As I was walking up, 30, 40, 50 feet away, I could smell it. It was strong,” he said.
Seim said they searched the house and found a large grow operation in the attic. They seized 109 mature plants and 154 “starter” plants. He estimated the street value from $30,000 to $60,000.
Seim said the grow operation looked like a fire waiting to happen, with exposed wiring and an outlet hanging loose.
The investigators also found a small amount of methamphetamine and smoking pipes elsewhere in the house. There was a loaded handgun under a bed with extra ammunition and a rifle in the spare bedroom.
According to Detective Sgt. Teri Gardner, the officers arrested 30-year-old Nickolas Clark on suspicion of possession with intent to deliver marijuana, possession of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia and felon in possession of a firearm. Clark is a felon because of a previous drug-related conviction, the police said.
In addition, 28-year-old Tina Newton was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to deliver marijuana, possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Seim said the couple was renting the house.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.