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Sheriff’s Department Make Major Pot Bust

Sat., June 1, 1996

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Department this week made its biggest pot bust ever, seizing more than $600,000 in marijuana and cash and arresting two men in the Spokane Valley.

Investigators seized more than $100,000 in cash and 20 pounds of dried marijuana during a raid Friday and 722 plants and 30 pounds of dried marijuana in another raid Thursday, Sheriff’s Capt. Don Manning said.

The 722 plants alone are worth more than $500,000, Manning said.

“It’s the biggest one the Spokane sheriff’s office has ever had,” Manning said.

John M. Hancock, 32, and Earl S. Rice, 53, were arrested on federal drug charges.

“They were partners in the operation,” Manning said.

Sheriff’s investigators began working on an investigation into the marijuana ring several months ago. They’ve worked jointly with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Spokane County Regional Drug Task Force.

Thursday, authorities served a search warrant at 11113 E. Valleyway, where they seized the 722 plants and arrested Rice.

Manning said the men used sophisticated methods for growing the plants.

On Friday, authorities arrested Hancock and searched a home at 23724 E. Garland.

The sheriff’s department made another major bust earlier in May.

On May 8, authorities raided two houses in a sparsely-populated area between Marshall and Cheney. They found 485 plants at 17818 S. Aspen Meadows Road and 35 plants at 4505 W. Pinto Road.

They arrested four people in connection with those raids.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

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