BELLEVUE, Wash. – Firefighters who responded to a house fire in Bellevue on Saturday discovered a marijuana grow operation.
Jongsook Ghim never dreamed that she was living across the street from a million-dollar drug house.
Ghim thought holiday revelers were getting started a little early Saturday night.
I heard some firecrackers sound, she said.
It turns out it was electricity arcing in the house. Lots of power was being consumed. Ghim called 911.
Firefighters arrived to find no one home, but they made another discovery. Police armed with a search warrant went inside.
They were able to discover approximately 739 plants, which is a lot of plants, and the street value of that is about three quarters of a million dollars, said Officer Carla Iafrate.
Police say marijuana was growing in nearly every room. Electricity fed lines through the ducts and into closets. Investigators believe an overloaded electricity panel started the fire.
There was a lot of time, money, and energy put into this particular grow, said Iafrate.
Looking back on it, Ghim says it seemed strange the neighbors didn't hold down jobs with regular hours.
I was wondering how they live, they drive Mercedes Benz, she said.
It turns out they were renters who moved in a couple of months ago, after the owner couldn't sell. The renters, now accused of a marijuana grow op, appear to have fled.
No arrests have been made. Police seized the marijuana plants and growing equipment.
July 4, 2010
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