Portland residents arrested at large Centralia indoor marijuana nursery

Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Defense attorney Mike Underwood, aided by an interpreter, advises a group of defendants of their rights before a hearing Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Four people were arrested yesterday when drug detectives found a north Centralia home housing an approximately $1.3 million marijuana growing operation.

Law enforcement discovered seven growing rooms, each set up in a sophisticated manner to include lights, ballasts, fans and a hydroponic watering system, according to authorities.

They counted 901 plants, each capable of producing about a pound of marijuana.

The arrestees included a 27-year-old man and his 21-year-old wife who are students as well as a 46-year-old woman and a 79-year-old woman. They said they live in Portland.

Members of the Lewis County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team began investigating the house on Susan Street in August with records from the power company that showed a high use of electricity, according to court documents.

When two of the detectives knocked on the door yesterday, Chaohui Tan, 27, answered questions and said he had a medical marijuana authorization but wouldn’t produce it, according to court documents. Because of his evasive demeanor, police decided to remove everyone to preserve any evidence, the documents relate.

Mei Lan Su, 79, was contacted in the basement trimming plants, according to the documents.

All four were booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged today with manufacture of marijuana in Lewis County Superior Court.

They spoke to a judge this afternoon in court making use of a Cantonese-Chinese interpreter.

Temporary defense attorney Mike Underwood requested court appointed lawyers for each of them.

He said they all live together in a Portland home owned by one of them, Nianhua Chen, 46, who is the only one with a job. She works in a restaurant earning about $1,600 a month, Underwood told the judge.

Manufacture of marijuana has a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh began by  asking the judge to hold them on $500,000 bail. She said she was concerned about them returning to court, given the large scale of the operation and the potential for access to other assets.

The first defendant, 21-year-old Xiaohui Zhang, has no criminal history that either Beigh or Underwood were aware of. Underwood asked she be released on her personal recognizance.

Judge James Lawler set bail at $50,000 for her and then for the other three.

Information in their court documents list three of them as residing at a Portland address and the 79-year-old as living at 216 Susan Street in Centralia.

Lewis County records show the five-bedroom home in Centralia was purchased in July of this year by an individual with a San Francisco address.

Tan told detectives he purchased all the equipment himself and doesn’t have a job, according to court documents. Detectives checked and found no state license to grow marijuana had been issued for the address.

Their arraignments are all scheduled for next Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court.

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8 Responses to “Portland residents arrested at large Centralia indoor marijuana nursery”

  1. Race Car Driver says:

    Funny you can manufacture alcohol and posses any amount you like. But weeds bad in a large amount? Watch the show on TV. Called Jail and 90% of the people are in for Alcohol. Why because alcohol causes black outs seizures from withdrawal. Yet Marijuana the Herb ‘Not a Drug’ doesnt cause any of these problems. The fact is people voting does not work in our current Olarchey. A hospital set up a program that allowed patients to avoid going to the ER by simply placing a bowel of Percocet on the reception desk and ER visits were cut in half. Our Government is not listening to the people of this Country. In other states right now the police are still kicking in doors over a Gram of Weed. Yet it’s ok for our County to prescribe everyone the Drug Fluoride in our water supply without ever seeing a Doctor for the correct dose or if even a dose is needed at all. Some people don’t even have teeth. So why do they need the drug Fluoride in their water? The real criminals are at our water Department.

  2. Sum Ting Wong says:

    Soaper, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime! You must partake in the chronic, I take it? Only a pothead would argue that bs!!!

  3. Prom night dumpster baby says:


  4. BobbyinLC says:

    I realize that while marijuana is legal in WA it is still not legal on the federal level. The way the WA law was written strictly controls the growing/selling of marijuana but I agree that having that much bail on these folks is way over the top.

    Several states have legalized marijuana and many more are looking to do that. This is the way that alcohol prohibition was eventually overturned and I think that withing 5-10 years it will be legal (whether you believe it should be or not) in all states and federally.

  5. Peabody Slim says:

    The real crime in our community is drugging everyone with Fluoride with out a prescription for each person that is ingesting the drug. Go to the Centralia City Hall and ask for a public disclosure of the pictures of the Fluoride bags. You will see for yourself these bags that they dump in our water supply have Skull and Bones on the bags. Yet Marijuana’s a plant. The city light department has no business disclosing how much power usage people are using without a warrant request. This practice is illegal. This is what happens in corrupt little towns like Centralia.Your power usage is a protected document.

  6. Soaper says:

    Jesus…requesting a half million dollar bail on a 79 year old lady (as well as the other 3 none of whom have ever been in trouble) for growing pot is absolutely ridiculous!

  7. Agent Tadesko says:

    If they cared about the vitality of the community and the future of it’s finances, they would stop denying local businesses the revenue these entrepreneurs bring in by spending money on nutrients, equipment, and other service industries.

    By using law enforcement to go after people who may or may not be violating permit issuance laws, they’re sending a strong message to all the rapists, child molestors, murderers, and alcohol merchants that what they do is bad, but what cannabis entrepreneurs do is worse.

    It’s good to know where the so-called law enforcement priorities lie, and it’s not with making the area safer or more accomodating to new ventures and investments. And all because of an outdated philosophy of life that can be boiled down to four words made famous by Mr Macky, “Drug are bad m’kay!”

    These anti-cannabis crusaders will need a relative to entice them out of their caves in a few years because they won’t believe us when we say the Drug War is over and cannabis is ok again, just like that Japanese soldier who, after 20 years hiding in a cave, was told the war ended 15 years earlier!

  8. Peabody Slim says:

    As a prior marijuana grower. Retired now, you get about 2Ilbs per 1000 watt light. So it all boils down to how many grow lights they had. Also light movers can increase your yield. If the sheriff’s department really cares about protecting the community they won’t re sell the grow equipment at their yearly auction, they should destroy it if their really concerned about the community. But let’s face it Marijuana’s legal now anyone should be allowed to grow. Its like what came first the chicken or the egg? If you can posses you should be able to grow. Let’s face it the tip came from the electric company.

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