LACEY - A North Thurston High School teacher is among three Olympia-area men accused of operating a marijuana-growing operation in a Centralia home, according to Lewis County law enforcement.
Glenn D. Larson, a Spanish-language teacher and the girls bowling coach at North Thurston High School, owns a home in the 100 block of Davis Hill Road in Centralia that law enforcement officials say had a crawl space remodeled with an “unusually elaborate” setup for growing marijuana.
“Usually, we find extension cords hanging from the ceiling,” Lewis County Sheriff’s Department Commander Steve Aust said. “They had ballasts that were properly mounted. The wiring was done in a professional manner.”
Larson and Larry D. Williams both of Lacey and Noel W. Lieseke of Olympia face charges of manufacture of marijuana, a felony.
Larson and Lieseke were booked into the Lewis County Jail on Wednesday and made initial appearances in Lewis County Superior Court on Thursday afternoon. Both were released from custody shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, jail records show.
Aust said he did not know what Williams and Lieseke do for a living; he added that they are not teachers or professional electricians.
Aust said he was not sure how the three men knew one another but said that there was evidence that all three had participated in the grow operation.
There is no evidence that students were involved, he said.
The Lewis County PUD tipped off the task force after finding electricity improperly diverted to Larson’s house, Aust said.
Law enforcement officers found about 700 marijuana plants in various stages of processing, including 360 plants growing, during a raid Jan. 25, he said. No one was at the home.
Williams was arrested Jan. 29, and Lieseke was arrested Wednesday.
Officers arrested Larson after school Wednesday at the North Thurston district office, Aust said.
Larson is on administrative leave; whether he will be paid will depend on the outcome of court proceedings, district spokeswoman Courtney Schrieve said. She said district officials are cooperating with law enforcement and are working to get a permanent substitute for Larson’s classes.
Girls bowling, which Larson has coached for seven years, ended with a trip to the state competition last week for one bowler.
“It’s unfortunate, and it’s a distraction. But we’re about making sure that we can get the kids on track in their classes,” Schrieve said.
A felony conviction could affect Larson’s teaching license, even though the charge appears to be unrelated to his job, said Charles Schreck, director of the Office of Professional Practices, which has not started any investigation on this case because it has not received a complaint and Larson has not been convicted.
Teachers are expected to live up to a standard of “good moral character and personal fitness,” which includes not having felony convictions, Schreck said.
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