Seattle police uncover historic marijuana grow operation

SEATTLE -- Seattle police on Tuesday uncovered one of the largest marijuana grow operations in recent memory, but after they confiscated most of the 2,663 plants, officers let the grower go.

After getting several complaints from neighbors about "an overwhelming smell" of marijuana coming from a home and warehouse in West Seattle, police served a search warrant on the property Tuesday evening.

When detectives arrived at the property -- along with another house in Beacon Hill -- they found an "unprecedented number of illegally-grown marijuana plants," according to police.

The West Seattle warehouse had more than 2,200 plants. The owner allegedly said the grow operation was part of a medical marijuana collective, but police say medical marijuana growers are only allowed 45 plants. Police also seized 206 and 227 plants in each home, as well as 86 pounds of processed marijuana.

Detectives say it was the largest marijuana grow operation they've ever seen.

Police believe the property owner was growing the marijuana to sell in his own dispensary, which they say violates state regulations.

Despite the historic nature of the bust, police didn't make any arrests and even let the owner chose 45 plants to keep at each location.

"Detectives were interested only in bringing the operation back under the limits of state law, and in addition to leaving plants and equipment at the scenes, also opted not to book anyone involved in the operation into jail," police said in a Wednesday press release.