PORT ORCHARD — A 53-year-old man identified as a Chinese national, who was originally charged with leading an organized crime enterprise by running a marijuana grow operation in South Kitsap and in Pierce County, was sentenced Nov. 1 by a Kitsap County Superior Court judge to 14 days of jail.
Xing Quan Wang, whose residence is believed to be in Flushing, New York, had been charged in September with leading an organized crime operation, second-degree human trafficking, manufacturing marijuana and unlawful use of a building for drug purposes.
The charges arose from a marijuana grow operation containing 1,351 plants in a duplex on Saddle Club Road Southeast in Port Orchard, and three other grow operations in Tacoma, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office certificate of probable cause.
On Nov. 1, Wang pleaded guilty to a single charge of unlawful use of a building for drug purposes in Kitsap County. The three other counts were dropped as part of a plea agreement with the prosecutor’s office.
An agreed sentence recommendation was accepted by Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Kevin Hull. Wang’s sentence was credited to time served while in Kitsap County Jail.
“The bottom line is they [the police] did not do a comprehensive investigation in this case,” said Tom Weaver, Wang’s defense attorney. The defense had planned to challenge police search warrants used in the case when a plea agreement was reached.
Prosecutor Chad Enright indicated the eventual resolution of the case was the correct one.
“What was pled to is what we would have been able to prove at trial,” Enright said. “Not all of the information witnesses gave police could have been provided to a jury.”
The case originated from a confidential informant’s tip in April. The informant helped maintain the marijuana grows, police said. Over the next few weeks, law enforcement conducted extensive surveillance of the operations. Detectives also subpoenaed power usage records at the locations, which showed daily power use was 10 to 15 times greater than the national average consumption, according to court documents.
Search warrants were served on the four marijuana grow sites on Sept 24 by WestNET detectives and other associated law enforcement agencies.
At least one individual identified in court documents as a Chinese national and associated with one of the houses told officials that Wang had taken that individual’s passport and would not give it back.
Wang was described as the leader of the marijuana grow operation and managed people who he had recruited from his home town in New York, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.
— Story by Independent correspondent Mike De Felice.