MABTON – Mabton police assisted the Drug Enforcement Agency and LEAD Task Force agents in raiding a Mabton residence last Friday. The Pine Street residence was known by police to be a marijuana grow operation, Mabton Police Chief Rick Gutierrez told Mabton Council last night (Tuesday).
“We provided back-up as the federal agents raided the Pine Street operation late Friday afternoon,” he said.
Gutierrez said federal agents took 171 plants from the location and hauled away several truckloads of evidence related to the grow operation.
Mabton police had been watching the house for months, but were advised by the federal agents to take a hands-off approach to the illegal activities, Gutierrez said.
“They were trying to gather as much evidence as possible before making the raid,” he explained.
Gutierrez said federal agents arrested five adult males at the scene.
He said during the collecting of evidence at the scene, city public works crews were called in when it was discovered that the illegal crop was being kept green with water illegally obtained from the city and the Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District. The pot growers had bypassed both the SVID weir box and the city water lines in order to grow their crop, Gutierrez explained.