Apopka police busted a grow house they said was days away from putting thousands of dollars worth of marijuana on the streets. Investigators said 60 marijuana plants were set up in the garage of a home in a Lake Piedmont neighborhood, days away from hitting the streets. Police said the elaborate operation was set up by someone with experience.
They were stealing more than $3,000 in electricity and about to make the suspect $40,000, police said. Police said a neighbor tipped off authorities. “He definitely was not a beginner, this wasn’t an amateur that decide to just kind of give this a try,” Officer Steve Popp with Apopka PD said.
Erik Garcia, 39, was arrested after a neighbor called in an anonymous tip to police. The stench of lingering marijuana could be smelled from the driveway. At the house was a moving truck with some of the grow house equipment police said was used, and Garcia’s mother inside, moving her son’s belongings.
Lordes Garcia said her son didn’t have 25 pounds of marijuana and there weren’t 60 plants, but 19. “It’s all a lie,” Lordes Garcia said. Pictures police shared show otherwise. One of the tell-tale signs police said they noticed when they checked out the tip was the reinforced garage door, “to not allow their lighting system to penetrate and also to keep the temperature,” Popp said.
Also inside the home during the bust was Garcia’s girlfriend, Mariana Michelena, and her 5-year-old daughter, leading to an investigation by the Department of Children and Families. “Yes, that piece of ****, that’s why he got in all this mess,” Lordes Garcia said.
Michelena said she was only at the home for one night and didn’t know what was going on. It is not clear if she will face any charges once DCF is done investigating.
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