Crime

Police were called to a Kennewick hotel fight. Pot plants covered the room

A couple are accused of using a Kennewick hotel room to dry marijuana plants before cutting off the buds.

Maritza A. Chavez Meraz and Victor M. Morfin, both 27, allegedly used the shower curtain rod, the toilet paper dispenser and chairs to hang the plants out to dry.

Prosecutors say the two had about three pounds of plants to harvest.

Their operation was discovered Oct. 7 when someone reported hearing a woman screaming and something hit the floor, according to court documents.

Officers went to the room at the Kennewick Suites expecting to break up a domestic dispute. But when the door was opened, police immediately saw numerous hanging pot plants, documents said.

Police noted that there were no signs or cards display that are required in Washington for medical users or producers.

Chavez Meraz and Morfin were both inside the hotel room at the time.

He reportedly told police that he and his girlfriend were taking the buds off the plants. And he said he did not have a medical marijuana card.

Chavez Meraz allegedly gave police several false identifications, claiming she had a medical marijuana card even though she could not find it.

Asked why she didn’t have the required authorization signs for processing marijuana, Chavez Meraz said she was only harvesting, and not growing the plants, court documents said.

She also said the pot was for the couple’s personal use, documents said.

Chavez Meraz and Morfin have been charged in Benton County Superior Court with manufacturing marijuana.

She was sent a summons to appear in court Oct. 31 on the new case.

Morfin pleaded innocent to the charge and faces a Dec. 16 trial. He has been released from custody.

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.
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