Warwick pot bust tied to ongoing DEA investigation involving other locations

West Bay

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A marijuana grow pulled by federal and local officers in Warwick is allegedly related to a 2019 seizure in West Warwick, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Hundreds of marijuana plants were confiscated Friday from 830 Oakland Beach Ave. — a location that up until two years ago housed the community organization known as the Jonah Center.

A spokesperson for the Rhode Island office of the Department of Justice said both the Warwick case and the October 2019 seizure of dozens of pot plants from 656 Providence St. in West Warwick are part of an ongoing investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration. No other details were available.

The Warwick and West Warwick properties are both owned by Elmwood Realty, LLC, but company property manager Andrew Butler said that is a coincidence.

“We had no idea this was going on. We can’t control what tenants do in our properties,” Butler said. “We manage 200 rental units and we don’t approve of this behavior. It’s in our lease. No illegal activity is allowed.”

There have been several other marijuana busts in Warwick recently, including two federal search warrants that resulted in the seizure of hundreds of plants and an arrest for possession with intent to distribute.

On Saturday, Warwick police confiscated 657 marijuana plants and nearly 19 pounds of processed marijuana on Coyle Street, and on Sunday, 474 marijuana plants and more than 31 pounds of processed marijuana were seized on Maywood Avenue.

Also this week, 49-year-old Yong Zhuang Chen was arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver more than five kilograms of marijuana.

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