At least two Chinese nationals are among four men being held in the Skagit County Community Justice Center after an investigation by the Skagit County Interlocal Drug Enforcement Unit allegedly revealed an illegal marijuana grow operation with thousands of plants and at least $1 million in cash.
Skagit County Superior Court Judge Tom Verge granted a request by prosecutors Friday afternoon to continue to hold the men — each on at least $250,000 bail — until Monday when prosecutors must either file charges against them or release them.
The Skagit Valley Herald is not naming the men because they have not been charged.
The four men, who were arrested Thursday and Friday, appeared separately in Skagit County Superior Court on Friday for what prosecutor Trisha Johnson called a “far reaching” criminal organization with “extremely significant resources.”
According to Johnson, the investigation included multiple locations with more than 2,500 marijuana plants and 400 pounds of processed marijuana at each.
It is believed the marijuana was headed for the East Coast, where it would sell for between $4,000 and $5,000 per pound, Johnson said.
While as of Friday morning investigators were still counting the cash seized, Johnson said she anticipates the amount to be between $1 million and $2 million. This is in addition to assets that are owned outright and money in bank accounts.
Each of the men is being held on investigation of manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, maintaining a premises for drug trafficking and money laundering.
Two are also being held on investigation of leading organized crime. Those two men, who are brothers, allegedly have been recruiting foreign nationals, including some who are in the country illegally, to assist in the operation, Johnson said.
The brothers are being held in the Skagit County Community Justice Center on $500,000 bail while the other two are being held on $250,000 bail.
The men will next appear in Skagit County Superior Court on Monday.