Thursday, March 27, 2008

Grow House Busts Produce Nearly $3M In Pot

Click here to watch a video of a Collier grow house.

It's been a growing problem in Collier County: marijuana grow houses.

But the number of grow houses are starting to shrink, thanks to stepped-up efforts by the Collier County Sheriff's Office to shut them down and increased public awareness.

"We're putting a great deal of effort into locating them and dismantling them,'' said Lt. Nelson Shadrick of CCSO's vice and narcotics bureau.

If investigators continue shutting down grow houses at the current pace, they're on track to exceed the 31 total busts made in Collier in 2007.

Since Jan. 4, investigators have shut down 13 suspected grow houses, uncovering a total of 1,002 plants with a combined street value of $2.9 million. The vast majority of the busts have been in rural Golden Gate Estates.

Each bust has produced an average of 50 to 100 plants, though some have produced more than 300 plants.

Each plant is valued at $3,000, what a pound of indoor grow house marijuana currently sells for on the street.

The price of marijuana grown indoors is exponentially higher than marijuana grown outside. The higher value is based upon the fact that the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content is greatly enhanced due to the controlled environment of an indoor grow house. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that produces a high.

If you suspect a marijuana grow house is operating in your neighborhood, you can now file an anonymous report with the CCSO online.

Go to, click on "How Do I," then click "Report A Grow House or Abandoned House"

Or contact CCSO at 774-4434, or 775-TIPS (8477)