PUYALLUP, Wash. -- Police have raided a suspected hash oil operation in Puyallup, and detectives say one of the properties belongs to the Puyallup deputy mayor.
The raids started Wednesday morning in the 2400 block of Inter Avenue in an industrial part of the city. Detectives were collecting bags of evidence in what they believe could have been a dangerous and illegal hash oil operation.
"The process of extracting the hash oil is extremely volatile and can cause an explosion and fire at any time," said Puyallup Police Captain Engles.
Puyallup police obtained a search warrant of the property that belongs to Deputy Mayor John Hopkins. Investigators believe the hash oil operation was serving at least one marijuana dispensary in the 2700 block of East Main, where officers also served a warrant.
One person, a 50-year-old British citizen who is in country illegally, has been arrested. Five others were being questioned. Engles said Hopkins is not a suspect in the hash oil lab at this time.
Hopkins said he was unaware his renters at the property were engaged in illegal activity.
"My understanding was medical records. That's how it was leased. It was done through a realtor, Gateway," said Hopkins. "Of course I signed the lease and I did meet the person, and my understanding was medical records."
While the raid happened in an industrial area of Puyallup, there are residential homes nearby. Homeowner Donna Barnes said seeing all the police activity was frightening.
"How do we know somebody wouldn't come here and mistake us for that building over there," asked Barnes. "That is kind of scary."
Hopkins said his renters, under the name of Dutch Masters Organic Grow, told him about plans to become a state-licensed grow operation. Hopkins said he believed that would happen sometime in the future.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Office Clandestine team was assisting in the investigation at the property. The Department of Ecology was also at the scene.