A shooting during an apparent drug deal that went bad led Wichita police to what appears to be a significant marijuana-growing and -selling operation at a house in far northeast Wichita.
An 18-year-old man told police that three men tried to steal his wallet and cell phone at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday near 13th and 143rd Street East. After a struggle that involved the victim being threatened with a knife and hit over the head with a handgun, the victim told Wichita police that he ran to his house nearby in the 14500 block of East Sport of Kings.
As he fled, one the attackers shot him in the wrist. He was taken to an Andover hospital and treated.
Police arrived at the house on East Sport of Kings. There they discovered a "significant amount of marijuana, growing equipment and evidence associated with the sale of marijuana," Lt. Doug Nolte said Wednesday.
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The 18-year-old shooting victim lives at the house.
Nolte said the attempted robbery and shooting were related to drugs in the house.
"We believe that the whole reason they were out there in that area was to complete a drug transaction," Nolte said.
In addition to the 18-year-old, two women, 50 and 22, and another man, 22, live at the house.
All but the 22-year-old man had the same last name, but Nolte said it was too early in the investigation to determine the relationships among the four residents.
"We don't know the extent of who is involved in what, other than there are several suspects listed at the address as being part of that drug operation," he said. "We consider everyone who lives there a possible suspect."
No arrests have been made.
Asked why those in the house weren't arrested, Nolte said drug investigations differ from standard criminal investigations.
"Anytime we find drugs, we have to test and prove they are illegal drugs (before arresting anyone)," he said. "Having been sold a rock before that was literally a rock and not cocaine, I can attest that people will simulate things."
In this case, police found what they believe to be a marijuana operation inside the house.
"It appears there was marijuana in all stages — growing and finished," Nolte said.
He declined to say how much marijuana was found or where the operation was located in the house.
Asked whether it was possible for someone living in the house not to know about the marijuana, Nolte said, "It's possible, sure. Is it likely? Probably not. You probably knew what was going on in that house."
Nolte said that no neighborhood is immune to drugs and violence.
"It may not be as obvious in a neighborhood like that where the houses are a little more spread apart," he said.