Highlands Sheriff's Office grow house bust

- Highlands County Sheriff's Office say they took down a record-setting 282 marijuana plant grow house on Friday night.

After several days of surveillance, deputies say they raided a home at 1301 Bluff Hammock Road in Lorida and found the largest grow house operation ever taken down in the county -- 282 plants weighing 2,140 pounds and valued at up to $6.85 million.

Major Mike Brown said the grow house setup was one of the most elaborate he has ever seen and the marijuana seized was ready to be harvested and sold."This seizure had an estimated street value of over $5 million.

Deputies say, Frank Delgado-Alejo, 46, who has a Hialeah address, was arrested at the scene and charged with cultivation of marijuana, trafficking in marijuana (over 2,000 pounds), renting or owning a structure for trafficking in a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held without bond at the Highlands County Jail.

According to investigators, the grow operation was housed in a 3,500-square-foot, two-tiered aluminum warehouse that was divided into seven insulated rooms filled with high-grade marijuana plants. Deputies say they found approximately two hundred 1,000-watt high-pressure sodium light bulbs, each equipped with its own ballast and transformer. Each room had a timer for the lights and an irrigation system, as well as a nutrient management system for the crop, dehumidifiers, fans, and a total of 11 air conditioning units, each rated at 10 tons.

Detectives say, Glades Electric also responded to the scene to investigate power diversion to the property and theft of utilities. This investigation is still ongoing at this time; additional charges may be forthcoming.

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