Four charged with operating extensive marijuana operation

Four people were arrested this week and charged with operating an extensive marijuana growing operation worth an estimated $600,000 at three different homes in Jefferson and Bullitt counties, police said Thursday.

Arrested on Tuesday were Ruben Yanez, 29, Cardosa Nunez, 37, Antonio Avalos, 18, and Mariela Diazoduaro, 42, all of Louisville. They have been charged with cultivating and trafficking marijuana and conspiracy to cultivate marijuana, according to arrest records.

A total of about 160 pounds of marijuana were confiscated from homes in the 3700 block of Outer Loop and 9800 block of Dea Dea Court in Louisville and the 200 block of Pin Oak Drive near Bardstown, said Officer Carey Klain, a spokeswoman for Louisville Metro Police.

She said Tuesday’s bust resulted from an ongoing extensive investigation by local and state police that is linked to a substantial bust in December that netted 6,000 pounds of marijuana from out of state worth about $7.2 million.

More than 450 pot plants were found in the homes on Dea Dea Court and Pin Oak Drive, and found inside the Outer Loop home were 16 to 18 processed plants, five large garbage bags filled with marijuana, a shotgun, digital scales, growing equipment and more than $4,700 in cash.

Klain said it appeared the residences were being used only for the grow operations. Five vehicles believed to be stolen, a 25-foot leisure boat, two tractors and several electronic items also were found at the residences.

“These marijuana growers were very sophisticated,” Klain said at a press conference on Thursday.

Additional arrests in connection with the operation are likely, she said.

At each residence, specific battery setups were used to power growing equipment, plus the same chemicals, mixing barrels, filtering systems and special lighting, police said.

Lt. David Jude, a spokesman for Kentucky State Police, said at the press conference the bust could lead authorities to more grow operations in the area or state and made a “considerable dent” in the local marijuana trafficking network.

“That’s a huge amount of dope that was taken off the streets here” that will affect supply and demand, he said, but added there still is an influx of the drug throughout the state.

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