BELLINGHAM — Two Skagit County locations were among several targeted by Bellingham police as they served warrants Thursday as part of a three-month investigation into illegal manufacture and distribution of marijuana.

Bellingham police said in a news release Thursday night that they were targeting marijuana cooperatives in Bellingham that they determined “were no more than a front for illegal drug activity.” Five people were arrested at the various locations on investigation of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

The investigation came after citizen complaints, and the city of Bellingham had revoked the business registrations of the cooperatives in December. However, the cooperatives refused to comply with orders to cease operation, the news release states.

Three Bellingham locations were among those searched Thursday, and the two locations in Skagit County are believed to be where some of the marijuana sold at the cooperatives was grown.

“This is a complicated case, but simply stated, these arrests are the result of these businesses operating in violation of Washington State and Federal drug laws,” Bellingham Police Chief Todd G. Ramsay said in a statement. “The Bellingham Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit led the investigation and was assisted by various other units of the Bellingham Police Department, the Skagit County Inter-Local Drug Enforcement Unit and the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office.”

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