$1.2 million of pot seized after Port Charlotte grow house busts

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PORT CHARLOTTE, FL. – The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office raided 3 marijuana grow houses in Port Charlotte.

A total of 351.35 pounds of marijuana was seized and three arrests made in “Operation Green House”.

The street value of the marijuana is $1.2 million.

At the press conference, Sheriff Bill Prummell said, “On March 1 we raided a grow house at 18099 Bly Avenue in Port Charlotte that led our Narcotics detectives to the three marijuana grow houses Tuesday. At the Bly Avenue home we seized 400 pounds of marijuana and made two arrests. The street value was set at $1.4 million. Our new Special Investigations Division is doing an awesome job and it looks like our grow house investigations are going to get bigger and spread to other jurisdictions. Drugs are the root of most crimes in Charlotte County; we have been hitting drugs hard and are seeing a decrease in burglary and theft cases already.” At the press conference, Sheriff Prummell was asked if he had anything to say to the growers and drug dealers and he replied, “Get out of my county!”

Tuesday’s search warrants were executed at the three homes that were growing hydroponic marijuana. Forced entry was made to all the homes and detectives located the usual special air conditioning systems, irrigation equipment, grow lights and chemicals, along with marijuana plants at the following locations:

1. 7:30 a.m. at 1301 Hinton Street in Port Charlotte. 2 growing rooms, 114 plants, 277.75 pounds marijuana. Arrested was 27-year-old Yoanna Garcia. She is charged with Cultivating Marijuana and Trafficking in Marijuana. Her bond was $27,500.

2. 1:00 p.m. at 3172 Normandy Drive in Port Charlotte. 2 growing rooms,115 plants and 18 vacuum sealed bags of marijuana, 37.05 pounds. Arrested was 24-year-old Lanier Lugones Calderon. He is charged with Cultivating in Marijuana, Trafficking in Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. His bond was $28,500.

3. 6:00 p.m. at 2315 Lee Terrace in Port Charlotte. 2 growing rooms with plants that had been harvested. Detectives located several plastic bags in the attic with dried plants and bags containing growing material. More bags were located in a backyard shed with growing material. The dried marijuana plants, stems and clippings seized weighed 36.55 pounds. Arrested was 43-year-old Martha Lahera Estrada. She is charged with Cultivating in Marijuana and Trafficking in Marijuana. Her bond was $27,500.

Sheriff Prummell also said, “This is only the beginning. Since I took office last January, I reorganized the Special Investigations Division to include a supervisor of Narcotics, members of the Street Crimes Unit, a K9, and use of the Veri-Plate System that scans and records license plates on vehicles. We are targeting the worst of the worst.”

Anyone with knowledge of illegal drug activity is asked to please call the CCSO Narcotics Unit at 941-575-2157, or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS (8477).