PASCO -- Four men arrested last month for allegedly turning a west Pasco home into a large indoor marijuana growing operation are free while prosecutors await further reports from detectives.
Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant said the men were released from jail during the 72-hour hold period because his office wanted the investigation to be as thorough as possible before filing charges and starting the clock for a speedy trial.
"We elected that more investigation was needed and we're working with law enforcement on gathering that additional information," Sant said, noting it is an unusual case.
Zhen Wu Chen, 46; Zhong Dong Ou, 42; Dong Hui Zhang, 19; and Rong Rong Yu, 22, were picked up April 11 by Pasco police on suspicion of manufacturing marijuana with intent to deliver.
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Chen and Ou are from Portland, and Zhang and Yu are from Oakland, Calif.
The Artesia Drive grow was discovered March 1 when the home's owner went to check the rental property after getting conflicting reports whether the men wanted to continue renting it. The door locks had been changed, so a friend broke in for the owner, who discovered the plants and called police.
Detectives set an alarm to alert them if someone returned to the house. When the alarm went off at 1 p.m. April 11, officers reportedly arrived to find Chen and Ou driving away and Yu and Zhang running and trying to get into the car.
The floor of the home was allegedly covered with green vegetative material that tested positive for pot.
Police compared the find to indoor operations in Western Washington done by Asian-affiliated drug trafficking organizations.
The four men have no conditions on their release while the investigation continues.