Federal investigators seized about 90 marijuana plants in Greenacres on Wednesday after detectives found a Craigslist posting advertising “extra top quality” marijuana.
DEA agents believe Paul E. Ellis continued to grow marijuana at his property in the 18000 block of East Riverside Avenue despite prior investigations, according to court documents filed this week.
Authorities knew Ellis was growing marijuana in 2010 and operating a dispensary at 7406 E. Sprague Ave., about 100 feet from a Washington State Patrol office, reports said.
Ellis then invited detectives to his grow operation to inspect the goods and his transaction records with about 200 customers, but they found it difficult to have a conversation with him because he couldn’t stay on “one topic at a time due to his talkativeness,” according to a search warrant.
They later executed a search warrant on his property and seized 203 plants, reports said.
Surveillance of the property began again last year when DEA agents smelled marijuana there. Later, they could hear fans running in a pole barn behind Ellis’ home, court documents said.
They also discovered a Craigslist posting advertising medical marijuana at a new location in the 13500 block of East Sprague Avenue, documents show. The posting, which was still online Friday evening, also asked for used grow gear.
A phone number on the posting led investigators to a man they believed to be Ellis. In a phone call, Ellis unknowingly told agents he had 12 varieties of marijuana available and gave their prices, documents show.
Agents examined the property’s power bills, which were separated into two parts: the home and the shop. The shop’s power bill was three times the home power bill, documents said.
Ellis remains in a U.S. Marshal hold at the Spokane County Jail on charges of growing more than 50 marijuana plants and maintaining an operation which violates federal laws, documents show.