Ten arrests, nine locations, two counties, and loads of pot. Authorities are calling this a major drug bust for our area.
Ten people are charged with growing marijuana. It started at 2771 212th Street in Suwannee County when deputies went to check out reports of stolen electricity at the home. What they found was 61 marijuana plants.
Lazaro Rocha is under arrest charged with growing the weed.
Brandi Bass, next door neighbor, said, "A bunch of police officers showed up. It was a very frightening experience. We moved here to raise children out in the country, safe. You just never know what's going on next door to you."
Rocha's arrest led to the arrest of Lazaro Montero at a house a few miles away. There deputies found 42 marijuana plants.
Tony Cameron, Suwannee County Sheriff, explained, "The marijuana grow was in full bloom, ready to be harvested. We seized approximately $20,000 worth of equipment from there. Those marijuana plants would be valued at approximately $1,000 per plant."
Further investigation took authorities across county lines where seven more grow sites were found in Columbia County.
Under arrest: is Lester Dorvini, Ricardo Vasques, Francisco Relova, Jesus Llerena, Frank Gallardo, Jose Gutierrez, Miguel Travieso, and Carlos Gonazalez-Perez. The suspects are believed to have Miami connections.
The sheriff added, "I think some would be distributed on our streets but I think also large amounts would be taken back to the Miami area. They felt like they can get out of the city and grow it in these rural areas much easier."
In addition to the 297 marijuana plants, nine vehicles, seven firearms, two utility trailers, a storage shed, $3,000 in cash, and various pot-growing equipment was also seized.
Authorities say the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.