BELLINGHAM - A Whatcom County couple has been charged with running a marijuana grow-op at a house near Bellingham city limits.
Deputies were called to the 4700 block of Aldrich Road after John Reinard Owens, 35, made threats to one of his relatives on Sept. 23, said Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks. When he heard the cops had been called, Owens hightailed it down the street, where he lives in a brown house tucked behind a moss-coated wooden fence.
From the driveway, deputies detected the smell of freshly growing marijuana, Parks said. They also saw some sketchy electrical wiring, as if Owens was diverting power.
Deputies obtained a search warrant and found large ventilation tubes running through the house and garage. Owens admitted that he ran a grow-op at the home, according to charging documents.
Two rooms were "devoted to the purpose of cultivating marijuana," wrote Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Craig Chambers. Seventy-three plants, in all, were recovered, along with 11/2 pounds of processed marijuana and 15 Vicodin pills.
Neither Owens nor his girlfriend, Heather N. Ruff, 24, had a prescription for marijuana or hydrocodone. Owens also had a warrant out for his arrest because he didn't show up for a court date in a DUI case.
Owens and Ruff were charged with drug possession and maintaining a drug house.
Ruff also was charged with being a felon in possession of guns found in the house - among them, an AK-47 assault rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun. Court records show that one of Ruff's felonies stems from a case in which she stole jewelry from her mother and pawned it to support her drug habit.
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