Searches yield more than 2 tons of pot

Couple arrested for stashes in Grandview and Sunnyside

— Two people appeared in Yakima County Superior Court in Yakima yesterday afternoon, facing charges in connection with a marijuana growing operation taking place in Sunnyside and Grandview.

Marta C. Campos, 41, of Sunnyside, and Francisco “Frank” Javier Valencia Sr., 43, of Naches, were being initially in the county jail on $100,000 each for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Judge Gayle M. Harthcock released them from custody following the hearing.

According to court records, task force agents recovered about 5,200 pounds of marijuana, as well as thousands of dollars of cash from houses the couple own at 1320 Midvale Road, 391 S. McLean Road and 393 S. McLean Road, all in Sunnyside; and 853 Hickory Road, Grandview.

The case started Sept. 11 when Campos told law enforcement officers that she arrived at her 393 S. McLean Road rental property to find a marijuana grow.

Campos, allegedly having three medical marijuana growing permits posted, told authorities the 45 plants on the property were legal, court records show.

Her husband confirmed the plants were under a tarp on the property and that there were three medical marijuana permits allowing them on the property, records show.

After obtaining a search warrant, drug task force agents collected the 45 plants, records show.

A week later, detectives responding to 853 Hickory saw an enclosed area containing plants on orchard property, court records show.

After talking with renters Marcus and Gilbert Uribe, detectives contacted owner Valencia — who was using the alias Frank Ramirez — and inquired about the marijuana, court records show.

Again, he said the marijuana was permitted.

Detectives obtained another search warrant and located 773 pounds of marijuana on the property.

That same day, detectives also searched a rental home at 1320 Midvale Road, Sunnyside.

The renter, Cecelia Alvarado, told investigators the property was owned by Frank Valencia Jr., court records show.

At that property too, he said he had legal marijuana permits.

Detectives obtained another search warrant and found 45 mature marijuana plants weighing 4,427 pounds, court records show.

All of the marijuana was logged in as evidence, court records show.

“… Evidence suggests that the Valencia family are engaged in the illegal manufacturing, cultivation and/or distribution of marijuana,” task force detective M. Fairchild wrote in his probable cause statement.

Fairchild obtained one more search warrant and went to 100 S. McLean Road, Sunnyside, to collect evidence in the


“As a result of the search, multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash were recovered as well as processed marijuana,” he wrote in his statement. “Probable cause exists to show that the Valencia family, to include Marta Campos and Francisco Javier Valencia Sr., are engaged in the facilitation of the illegal manufacturing of marijuana and money laundering.”


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