Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Deputies Find $1.3M Marijuana Grow Operation In The Estates

Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies discovered an illegal marijuana growing operation in Golden Gate Estates on Tuesday, with plants valued at nearly $1.3 million.

Vice and Narcotics Bureau detectives, with assistance from SWAT and members of the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Team in the Estates, executed a search warrant 1825 Washburn Ave.

Detectives discovered four large indoor marijuana grow rooms that contained a total 431 marijuana plants. Two of the grow rooms were discovered in the residence and the other two were discovered in a stable behind the residence.

Detectives discovered eight air conditioners that were connected and providing cold air to the marijuana grow rooms along with 57 1,000-watt transformers that powered 57 high-intensity light bulbs. The light bulbs provided artificial light to the marijuana plants. Detectives discovered that the electricity to the residence had also been diverted for the operation.

No one was at the residence at the time of the search and no arrests were made.

The marijuana plants had an estimated street value of $1.29 million. The grow equipment was valued at approximately $50,000.

The investigation continues.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office reminds residents that public awareness about marijuana grow houses and tips from citizens have helped deputies make arrests.

There are plenty of easy-to-spot indicators that a grow house may be operating in your neighborhood, including:

* More than one air-conditioning unit in operation

* Windows and blinds that are never open

* Frequent loading and unloading of equipment, especially at night

* Toys as props, but never any children

* Gates and "Beware of Dog" signs

* Little traffic, except for odd hours, weekends and nights

Anyone who sees suspicious activity and suspects a marijuana grow house operation should call the Collier County Sheriff's Office at 239.775.TIPS, or you can make an anonymous report via the CCSO website and deputies will investigate.

To make an anonymous report, go to the CCSO website at, then go to the tab labeled “How Do I?” and click on “Report a grow house or abandoned home.”

Some of the 431 marijuana plants Collier County sheriff's Vice Narcotics detectives recovered after executing a search warrant at an illegal grow operation at 1825 Washburn Ave. in Golden Gate Estates on Tuesday. Photos by Collier County Sheriff's Office (2)