By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – The owner of a Salkum-area farmhouse that was found to have a marijuana grow inside after it caught fire on Christmas Eve Day has pleaded not guilty to manufacture of marijuana.
J. Natividad Acevedo was summonsed to appear in Lewis County Superior Court and did so on Wednesday afternoon, with his lawyer. He returned Thursday for his arraignment.
Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher recommended Acevedo be allowed to remain free pending trial on a $$5,000 unsecured bond. Judge Andrew Toynbee agreed.
Acevedo, 40, who has an Onalaska address listed in court documents, is represented by Centralia attorney Jakob McGhie.
Prosecutors wrote in charging documents that a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputy got a search warrant for the property on the 200 block of Fuller Road and seized plants and growing equipment from the rear section of the house as well as inside a room on an attached carport.
Firefighters had passed along information about what they saw inside to the sheriff’s office.
Timothy A. Neal, 48, was contacted by the deputy and said he stayed there and tended the plants for his landlord, while the landlord was out of town, according to charging documents. Neal was arrested last week for the same charge and allowed an unsecured $10,000 bond.
Charging documents allege that Neal told the deputy Acevedo had more than one marijuana grow in the area and that Neal had helped set up some of them. He reportedly said Acevedo would sell one pound increments to people in California and in Lewis County.
When Lewis County prosecutors filed the charge against Acevedo on March 28, it included only the one count of manufacture of marijuana.
Acevedo’s trial was scheduled for the week of June 26 in Lewis County Superior Court.
For background read “Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – CHARGES FILED RE: MARIJUANA PLANTS DISCOVERED AFTER HOUSE FIRE” from Thursday April 6, 2017, here