VANCOUVER, Wash. -- The Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force, with the assistance of several other law enforcement agencies, served more than 50 search warrants on suspected marijuana growers Thursday morning.
The investigation, named Operation: Gang Green, began in 2009 when investigators from the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force became aware of several Asian-operated indoor marijuana grows. Since the inception of Operation: Gang Green, investigators uncovered "a very large" marijuana growing operation in which residential homes are being used to grow marijuana which is ultimately distributed across the country.
As a result of the ongoing investigation, the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force obtained 56 search warrants for homes in Clark County. Approximately 300 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers are currently in the field executing these search warrants. The execution of the search warrants began at approximately 7 a.m. Thursday morning and it is anticipated that officers will remain in the field until late in the evening, processing the search warrant locations for evidence. The purpose of the search warrants is to recover evidence related to this ongoing criminal enterprise to include active marijuana grows, evidence of past grows, evidence of organized crime activities, money laundering, and the hiding of unlawful drug sales proceeds.
Throughout the course of this investigation, investigators from the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force have monitored numerous grow locations, conducted surveillance, conducted financial investigations, and partnered with other law enforcement agencies in Washington and Oregon, as well as several other states across the country. Previous search warrants have been issued related to this case that has resulted in evidence and intelligence information used to advance this investigation to its conclusion. Additionally, several arrests have previously been made locally and in other states which have already resulted in the seizure of approximately 150 pounds of processed marijuana. These arrests and seizures were made following the interdiction of drug shipments coming from known Gang Green locations in Clark County.
"The massive scale of this marijuana growing operation is staggering and unprecedented in the history of Clark County," said Commander Mike Cooke of the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force. " When viewed on a map of Clark County, it's clear that this group has made Clark County a major producer of marijuana on the West Coast."
Law enforcement units participating in today's operation include:
- Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force
- Multnomah County Special Investigations Unit
- Clackamas County Special Investigations Unit
- Internal Revenue Service
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- U.S. Marshals Service
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- Washington State Patrol
- Vancouver Police Department
- Clark County Sheriff's Office
- Washougal Police Department
- Camas Police Department
- Skamania County Sheriff's Office
- Clark County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
- U.S. Attorney's Office
The execution of today's search warrants is one additional step in the course of this investigation. Evidence gathered from today's search warrants will be analyzed and will likely lead to additional investigativions.