As of Wednesday, August 8, 2018
WAPATO Members of the Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD) Task Force have three men in custody after an extensive investigation near Wapato.
Pedro Jimenez-Zepeda, 23, of Yakima; Eliseo Caballero-Villa, 46, of Wapato; and Rodolfo Salgado, 56, of Yakima appeared for a preliminary hearing in Yakima County Superior Court yesterday, Aug. 7.
A narrative submitted to Judge Gayle M. Harthcock details the investigation that began as a result of an email sent to the task force June 20.
Detectives began with locating the property on which it was believed someone was illegally growing marijuana. It was identified as an address on Ashue Road near Wapato.
They met with a neighbor, who pointed out two large structures on the suspect property. Detectives noted there was about 8 feet of open space below some netting, and a third structure was being built. That one was being built differently, the narrative said.
Detectives remained on nearby property, with permission from the owner, to observe activities via binoculars. They were able to identify plants believed to be marijuana. The plants were as tall as 4 feet on the first day of observation.
The Washington State Liquor and Control Board was contacted, and it was verified there wasn’t a license for a marijuana grow at the property in question.
Detectives returned to the property last week to confirm there were still several plants being grown inside the structures, and obtained a search warrant this past Monday.
At about 6 p.m., the detectives and agents with the task force served the warrant and both Caballero-Villa and Salgado tried to flee, records show.
They were arrested, and so was Jimenez-Zepeda.
The task force seized 375 processed and growing plants from the property, records show.