Two pot patches uncovered

The Island County Sheriff’s Office uncovered two marijuana grow operations, seized nearly 150 plants and took two men into custody last week.

Deputies served a search warrant at a home in the Admirals Cove area Oct. 10. They found about 100 growing marijuana plants and a large quantity of processed marijuana and growing equipment, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The pot was discovered in two growing rooms, including an area under a crawlspace that had been excavated enough for a person to stand up in.

The resident, 50-year-old Donald Phelps, was arrested on suspicion of manufacturing marijuana, according to Detective Ed Wallace. He was booked and released.

A second man, 53-year-old Robert Bell, was contacted at the home and released.

Two days later, however, deputies served a second search warrant at Bell’s home in the Rolling Hills area of Oak Harbor.

The deputies discovered another growing operation in a detached garage, with 48 pot plants and growing equipment, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Bell was also arrested on suspicion of manufacturing marijuana, booked and released, Wallace said.

Wallace said the “rule of thumb” for growing operations is that each plant is worth about $1,000.

The busts, Wallace said, are a result of work by the department’s new drug detective, but he couldn’t release any further information on how the operations were detected.

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynews or call 675-6611.

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