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Police bust opium operation in Grant County

Fri., Feb. 27, 2009, 8:04 p.m.

Investigators found what could be Grant County’s first known indoor opium growing operation during a raid this week just south of Ephrata.

William P. Helfrich, 56, faces charges of possession and manufacturing marijuana and opium after 15 marijuana plants and four, 13-gallon bags of opium poppy pods were found in his home at 5511 NW Martin Road, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

The search was Wednesday, the same day an unknown amount of rock cocaine and marijuana was seized from a home at 803 South A Street in Moses Lake following a six-month investigation.

Valinda G. Otis, 28, and Tommy C. Stokes, 23, of Moses Lake, face charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Both raids were conducted by an inter-agency narcotics team made up of officers from Moses Lake, Quincy, Ephrata, Washington State Patrol, and the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

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