Men caught with 1,923 pot plants

Arrests made after traffic stop in Sunnyside

— Two Pasco men are accused of transporting nearly 2,000 marijuana plants here.

Jorge Escalera-Valencia, 35, and Hermerjildo Escalara-Valencia, 36, will be arraigned April 24 on charges of manufacturing marijuana, records show.

They appeared in Yakima County Superior Court yesterday, records show.

Jorge Escalera-Valencia was released on his own recognizance. Hermerjildo Escalara-Valencia is being held on $10,000 bail.

They were arrested Friday near Interstate 82, Exit 67, a probable cause document shows.

Two officers with Yakima County’s drug task force found 1,923 marijuana plants approximately eight to 12 inches tall, records show.

The plants were found in a U-Haul truck Jorge Escalara-Valencia was driving, records show.

Hermerjildo Escalara-Valencia was following behind him in a Chevrolet Silverado.

Washington State Patrol Sgt. Brian Luedtke requested the search warrant when he saw several rolls of plastic piping in the Silverado, records show. He initially pulled the car over because the vehicle’s registration tabs were expired.

And the U-Haul also was suspicious, records show, as marijuana plants could be seen on the passenger side floorboard.

“Based off his training and experience, Sgt. Luedtke believed Herman (Hermerjildo) and Jorge were involved in the cultivation of marijuana,” Detective Delp with the drug task force said.

When questioned, the suspects initially said they were going to work in Wapato, then said they were moving to Wapato, records show.

With a Sunnyside police officer providing translation, Jorge Escalera-Valencia then allegedly confessed he was transporting 300 marijuana plants to begin a grow in Wapato, records show.

He claimed to have a medical marijuana card, but did not have it with him, records show. He admitted the pipe was to irrigate the planned marijuana operation.



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