Pot was growing on family’s property. They told deputies a man paid them $5,000 to rent land

A Pasco man is accused of paying $5,000 to a Basin City family so he could grow 15 marijuana plants on their property.

Manuel E. Valencia Alvira, 30, had a permit claiming the grow qualified under state law as the maximum plants allowed for personal medical use.

However, Franklin County deputies say he was in violation of the law because he did not live on the property.

Court documents also state that the permit was not posted, as is required, during an Aug. 29 compliance inspection.

It was in place — posted near the door of the fenced area containing the pot grow — when deputies returned Sept. 12 with a search warrant, documents said.

Valencia Alvira was arrested that day on suspicion of manufacturing marijuana, but was released from custody on his personal recognizance the following day.

According to court documents, deputies first stopped by the Sagehill Road property at 3:23 p.m. Aug. 29 to verify the operators of the marijuana grow were complying with the law’s requirements.

‘Made a deal’ to allow plants

A 28-year-old woman told deputies they again had a grow on their property this year, but that it didn’t belong to the family. She said her 59-year-old father had “made a deal” and rented their property to a Jose D. Valencia Alvira, documents said.

The woman further said she didn’t know the terms of the agreement because it was verbal, but said the renter had been caring for the plants daily.

She said she had last seen the permit paperwork posted near the grow operation, and added that it “should be under Jose’s name.”

Deputy Ruben Bayona wrote in court documents that he told the daughter the permits need to be clearly posted. He inspected the grow and reportedly found 15 large-size plants.

Bayona got a search warrant Sept. 11, and returned to the property the next day with several deputies.

The permit now was posted, though it was under the name Manuel E. Valencia Alvira, court documents said.

The property owner told Bayona he had received $5,000 to allow the grow, documents said.

Bayona noted that Valencia Alvira lives on Homestead Drive in Pasco, and sent two deputies to arrest him.

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Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.