There were no hay bundles in this barn. Late last week, narcotics detectives from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office descended on a rural residence in Ft. Meyers, Fl., after receiving an anonymous tip that it was being used to grow marijuana.
Over the past seven years, indoor marijuana growers in Florida often rent or buy homes in rural counties to better conceal their illegal activities. According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, this was the second large-scale marijuana grow operation discovered within two weeks as a result of a reliable anonymous tip.
According to a police spokesman, the farm was complete with livestock in a fenced in compound. Detectives set up surveillance on the resident, 46-year-old Jesus Ramos Perez, following him as he left the house. Officers stopped him on Interstate 95 for a K-9 check. The police dog alerted his handler to a sawed-off shotgun, which can only be owned with a special federal gun license, hidden inside a pile of clothing within reach of the driver. The cops arrested Perez and and obtained a search warrant for his home.
Inside the barn, the narcotics unit discovered 155 mature marijuana plants and an elaborate grow system. The Lee County Sherriff’s Office said the planted weighed more than 320 pounds and were in the advanced stages of budding. The marijuana had a street value of $450,000.
Ramos Perez was charged with trafficking in marijuana, cultivation of marijuana, owning a structure used to traffic narcotics, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, and carrying a concealed firearm. Ramos Perez is currently being held within the Lee County Jail.