By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – The Onalaska couple charged with growing lots and lots of marijuana at their rural property pleaded not guilty today.
James L. Arnold and Laveta L. Arnold were arrested on Feb. 10 following an investigation by Centralia Police Department’s Anti-Crime Team and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office into alleged money laundering.
Prosecutors allege they generated about $136,000 a year selling what initially was grown as personal medicinal marijuana.
Police seized more than 40 pounds of marijuana and 614 plants from an indoor garden, along with cars, trucks, firearms and a den full of mounted animal heads from their home on Griel Road.
The couple were accompanied this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court by Kent attorney Bradley G. Barshis. At least 11 friends, family and supporters sat behind them.
They are free on bail.
In the brief hearing, they pleaded not guilty to manufacture of marijuana, possession with intent to to deliver and with money laundering.
Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello said he and their lawyer agreed to modify their conditions of release to allow for travel in all of Washington and also northern Oregon, as they have business and ill family to tend to.
Both the Arnolds and their attorney declined to comment outside the courtroom.
A trial was scheduled for the week of May 4.
For background, read “Onalaska arrests: Big medical marijuana enterprise funded African safaris, say police” from Friday February 13, 2015, here