On Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, 125 personnel from the King County Sheriff’s Office participated in a joint operation targeting a criminal group involved in the manufacturing and distribution of illegal marijuana across the Puget Sound region.

KCSO personnel took part in the search of 27 locations, working with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation team.

Many of the locations were illegal grow houses, and others were businesses that allegedly served as front companies.

Search warrants were executed at locations in Skyway, Renton, Kent, Lake Tapps, Maple Valley, Federal Way, Covington, SeaTac, and Snohomish.

“This type of organized crime has a negative impact on the safety and the quality of life in our local neighborhoods,” King County Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht said. “It cannot be tolerated. I am very thankful for the hard work and long hours our detectives have put in to make this investigation a success.”

The investigation resulted in 11 criminal indictments.

“This criminal group operated outside Washington State’s regulatory scheme for marijuana, distributing thousands of pounds of marijuana to states where marijuana was, or remains, illegal, making huge sums of money,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “Members of the group turned homes in the Seattle area into illegal grow houses, damaging neighborhoods, and competing unfairly with honest buyers who are just trying to afford their first home.”