A Hoquiam home with a bit of a recent “jaded” history is going on the market.
The three bedroom, 1.5-bath two-story home sits at 1905 Riverside Ave. It faces the Hoquiam River and, from the second floor especially, has nice views of the Simpson Avenue Bridge.
A home listing isn’t usually all that newsworthy, but this home has a past, a recent one: it was one of the many homes stretching across several counties used in a massive Chinese national illegal marijuana growing ring.
It was not one of the first homes served Nov. 28, 2017, in what was termed Operation Green Jade, Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers told the City Council Monday. He said the home was discovered as the case evolved.
“The three primary organizations operating (the illegal marijuana grows) on the Harbor were buying houses faster than the three-person task force could keep track of,” said Myers. On that Nov. 28, 44 search warrants were served simultaneously in Grays Harbor, Thurston, and King counties as part of the operation. “This particular house was not originally identified. It was stumbled upon during a normal patrol call; because we had so much experience with these cases by then we knew immediately what it was.”
That call came on May 15, 2018, when Hoquiam officers were called to the residence for a burglary-in-progress report.
“Once on the scene, officers quickly determined the garage and house harbored a large marijuana grow, which appeared to have been abandoned,” said Myers.
A search warrant was secured, and the remains of 395 marijuana plants were found in four different grow rooms. “Officers discovered a sophisticated watering and lighting systems with all of the bedrooms and garage committed to the illicit marijuana growing operation,” said Myers.
Investigators discovered documents in the residence and obtained information from neighbors indicating the owner, a Chinese national, had recently purchased the house and was observed coming and going until the day after the Operation Green Jade raids were executed, said Myers.
“Additional search warrants on financial records revealed the suspect had accepted a wire transfer of $50,000 from a Chinese bank just days prior to purchasing the house; other financial records indicated the suspect had only a sporadic employment history with very little reported income,” added Myers.
The case related to the home made its way through the courts and just recently was resolved in a settlement, and the property forfeited to the city.
Because the property was not part of the initial Operation Green Jade investigation, the funds gained from the property’s sale will go directly to the city’s future drug enforcement efforts, not split among agencies in the Drug Task Force, Myers told the council. These funds are usually used for needed equipment upgrades, radios, and the like.
The house is “a neat old house,” said Myers. Like most older homes in the area, it needs a little TLC, said Myers, “but I think it would be a great house for somebody.”
The city will sell the house as-is, as there wouldn’t be much value in fixing it up, then flipping it, as they say. The city will not use a real estate agent and will likely look for a buyer through the city, with an anticipated starting price at the 2021 assessed value of $105,754. Myers said he’d like to see requirements on the purchase for the buyer to make the house inhabitable within a 12-month period, so it’s not just purchased and left unimproved and vacant.
“It’s a neat old house. It would be a shame to see it go to waste,” said Myers.
Myers told the council the property will be advertised on the city website, cityofhoquiam.com, and on Facebook, facebook.com/cityofhoquiamgovernment.