Two men plead not guilty to armed robbery of MLT pot store

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Rainier Cannabis is located at 22002 64th Ave. W. in Mountlake Terrace.

The two men charged as accomplices in the Nov. 21 armed robbery of Mountlake Terrace’s Rainier Cannabis have entered not guilty pleas. Both are awaiting trial, but under very different circumstances, with one free on bail and the other in custody.

Bradford Marcellas Johnson, 20, of Edmonds was arraigned Tuesday, Dec. 26 in Snohomish County Superior Court before Judge George Appel on charges of first-degree armed robbery and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. At the time of his arrest, Johnson was only 28 days out of prison after serving time for the September 2015 robbery of another Snohomish County pot business, Patient Care 99 in south Everett. Bail was set at $50,000. Johnson posted bail and was released pending a March trial date.

Johnson’s co-defendant, 21-year-old Eric Henry Woodberry of Brier, was arraigned on Dec. 18. Woodberry is also accused of being part of an armed robbery crew responsible for a number of similar crimes in the area. Bail was also set at $50,000 for Woodberry, who was also charged with armed robbery in the Nov. 21 incident. In custody since the robbery, Woodberry declined bail and remains in the Snohomish County jail awaiting a Feb. 9 trial.

According to charging papers, on that evening Johnson and Woodberry entered Rainier Cannabis in the 22000 block of 64th Avenue West just before the store’s scheduled midnight closing. With a semi-automatic assault weapon and handgun drawn, the pair ordered the three store employees to fill several garbage bags with cannabis products while forcing the store security guard to the ground at gunpoint. The robbers demanded to get into the store safe, but since the employees had no access to it they instead obtained an estimated $1,300 in cash from the register, stuffing it into their pockets along with more marijuana products.

The store owner, who was watching the remote feed from the store’s video surveillance system, called 911. Units from Mountlake Terrace police arrived on the scene while the robbery was still in progress, and were joined by officers from Edmonds, Lynnwood, the Washington State Patrol, Mukilteo, Everett, Shoreline and Seattle. Police immediately set up a containment zone outside the store to cut off potential escape routes. Within four minutes of the initial call, one of the suspects opened the main door, but upon seeing the police immediately retreated back inside, locking the door behind him.

The pair then told the employees that they were now hostages, and pressed them for information on an alternate route out of the store. Held at gunpoint, the store employees told them of a back hallway leading to an adjacent dentist’s office. The robbers then locked the employees in a bathroom, fled through the rear exit and ran through an adjacent casino parking lot.

Officers and a K-9 team took off after the pair in what one officer described as an “extremely dynamic” two-hour pursuit in a driving rain that took them across fences, through residential backyards, hillsides and a thigh-high pond. When apprehended, both suspects had marijuana products and large amounts of cash on their persons.

Subsequent investigation into the weapons used in the robbery revealed that the assault rifle — an MGI March-15 semiautomatic — was stolen from a residence in Snohomish in July. Police were not able to recover the handgun.

— By Larry Vogel

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