RAYMOND — Two leaders of an illegal drug-ring will spend most of August behind bars.

Wei Chen, 49, was booked into the county jail on July 30. Qing Chen, 40, was booked on Aug. 2. The pair will serve 30 days in jail and pay $600 each in fees.

The men were leaders of an illegal drug-ring found in Raymond. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a third suspect, Yong Wu, 39.

Wei and Qing Chen were both charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Wei Chen also violated community custody. He previously received a charge of possession of a controlled substance after being arrested during a search of Grays Harbor County marijuana grow houses.

'Operation Green Jade'

Starting in late 2017, the Grays Harbor Drug Task Force investigated several illegal marijuana-growing operations.

Through an investigation dubbed "Operation Green Jade," investigators learned that Chinese and Chinese American individuals had purchased properties in Southwest Washington, then converted them to illegal grow-houses.

The investigation resulted in several criminal and civil forfeiture cases. Dozens of individuals were arrested initially, but many only tended to the plants. Wei Chen, Qing Chen and Yong Wu were identified as ringleaders in the investigation.

Almost 2,000 marijuana plants were found in Raymond homes owned by the three. The homes were located off State Route 6 and Hammond Road.

Investigators connected the grow-operations to the three individuals through looking at property bills, utility records, and data from tracking devices.

Other properties in Grays Harbor County were found to be similar in nature and set-up.

Most of the plants in found in Raymond were burned by law enforcement after they were found. Some were taken as evidence.

Law enforcement officers from Pacific County Sheriff's Office, Long Beach Police Department, South Bend Police Department, Shoalwater Bay Police Department, Raymond Police Department, and Lewis County Sheriff's Office worked on the investigation.

Alyssa Evans is a staff writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact her at 360-642-8181 or aevans@chinookobserver.com

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