Cash and processed marijuana buds are seized from Kelso home / Courtesy photo by Centralia Police Department’
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
A two-month investigation by the Centralia Police Department’s special Anti-Crime Team led yesterday to the seizure of 21 pounds of dried marijuana buds, guns, cars, more than $50,000 cash and nine-foot tall marijuana plants growing in a Kelso backyard.
Centralia police say the suspects were illegally supplying large amounts of marijuana in the Lewis, Thurston, Pierce and Cowlitz county areas, as medical marijuana distributors.
“The suspects were then laundering the money by buying and selling used cars to hide the large amounts of cash,” Centralia Police Department Officer Patty Finch states in a news release.
Police say officers conducted an unspecified number of undercover purchases from the suspects and then yesterday made a traffic stop and arrested George Szerency, 62, of Kelso.
A search that followed of his nearby home on the 800 block of South Seventh Avenue turned up 10 fully mature plants growing in his yard, a handgun, a rifle, just under $51,000 in U.S. currency and the buds plus 24 grams of hash oil. Also seized were a 2004 Pontiac Bonneville and a 1997 Mercedes E320, according to police.
Centralia police were assisted by the Kelso Police Department and the Cowlitz County Drug Task Force.
Szerency was booked into the Cowlitz County Jail for unlawful delivery of marijuana, conspiracy to deliver 15 to 20 pounds of marijuana, unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and unlawful manufacturing of marijuana, all within 1,000 feet of a school zone and while armed, according to the news release.
Officers are referring to prosecutors a case for charging Teresa Torres, 60, also of Kelso, with the same offenses. A case involving a third person, Dennis McCracken, 43, of Kelso, is also being referred to prosecutors for consideration of the charges of unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, according to police.
Police estimate the street value of the seized marijuana at $84,000.
Ten mature marijuana plants grow in a Kelso backyard. / Courtesy photo by Centralia Police Department