Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pot growing operation busted near Tiger Mt.

06:48 PM PDT on Wednesday, September 2, 2009


BELLEVUE, Wash. - Law enforcement officers today busted a major marijuana grow operation on Taylor Mountain, which is near Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah Alps.

Initial reports indicated a hiker tracking a bear spotted a plant two weeks ago. The Eastside Narcotics Task Force now says a helicopter spotted two major grows and SWAT team members located a smaller grow on the ground.

About 25,000 plants were harvested. Most of the plants taken were considered mature.

Today officers battled rough terrain, logs, downed trees and thick brush to harvest the plants. One operation was located about 300 yards off the road, and the other about a mile in.

"Often times the area is booby-trapped so we send in a SWAT team first to secure the area and make sure no one's hiding back there that may be armed," said Carla Iafrate, a spokesperson for the Eastside Narcotics Task Force.

Police say the plants were irrigated. A stream runs through the area where they were found.

Police say there is evidence to suggest two to four Mexican nationals are behind the operation.

"We located signs posted on trees and their encampment with the names of Mexican states, presumably their home states," said Iafrate.

They'd set up camp deep in the woods to watch over the crop. But investigators say it doesn't appear anyone's been in the area in about two weeks.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Notorious Kirkland man running for city post


Martin Morgan owes the city $20,000. He's on probation for assault. And he's running for a seat on the Kirkland City Council.

The controversial candidate has a long history with the city he wants to help lead.

Morgan's property is finally up to the city's standards. There are still run-down cars in the back and beer bottles in plain view. But the lot no longer houses any illegal eyesores neighbors can complain about.

"The guy is just a pain in the butt. He hordes and he maintains his property like trash," said neighbor Jess Paddie.

City inspectors say Morgan is the source of a string of ongoing complaints.

At one point, he had more than 11 junk cars and appliances peppering his yard. Two sheds were built on his property without permits.

As a result, Morgan ran up more than $20,000 in fines and eventually went to court to settle with the city.

"Our code enforcement allows us to assess per-day, per-violation fines, and he did accumulate quite a bit," said City spokesperson Marie Stake.

The city says Morgan has until 2016 to pay his fines.

Normally, city code violations are no big deal. But Morgan fought the city every step of the way. And now he's running for city council.

According to his Facebook page, Morgan is running on a platform of no new taxes. But his page mentions nothing about his lawsuits with the city or his conviction for assault, for which he is on probation until after the election.

Paddie says Morgan's assault conviction stemmed from a night when Morgan sprayed Paddie and his wife with a hose, then ran when police arrived.

"They actually chased him into the house and shot him with a Taser," said Paddie.

Morgan did not return KOMO News' calls or e-mails. But he told the Kirkland Reporter he pleaded guilty to assault in order to put the issue behind him. He said he believed the city inspectors had a vendetta against him.

Neighbors say Morgan's yard has improved since June, the same time he entered the council race. But the neighbors say Morgan doesn't have their vote.

"I don't even know who the other lady is, but she's got my vote," Paddie said.