204 marijuana plants seized at Tampa home

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Two rooms full of marijuana plants were discovered during a search of a Tampa home Tuesday. 

Deputies with the Hillsborough County Patrol District III Street Crimes Unit executed a search warrant at 2506 Mabry Street. They found two rooms said to be converted for the sole purpose of cultivating marijuana. 

Deputies said they found 204 marijuana plants, a 9 mm firearm and multiple lights and other equipment used to grow plants indoors.

Neighbors who spoke to FOX 13 were stunned by the find.

"That is a lot of weed. It looks like a jungle," Carrolwood resident Jimmie Jackson marveled. "I never even knew that anything like that was going on here. No clue. It is a quiet neighborhood. The only noise we really have is from the park."

Tampa Electric Company (TECO) came to the home and found and illegal electrical connection, providing un-metered electricity to the residence. TECO estimated the theft of electricity was $8,000.

The total weight of marijuana seized was around 213 pounds, which carries an estimated street value of approximately $319,650.

Detective Larry McKinnon with the Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office said the nature of the operation could mean the suspect was packaging and distributing marijuana around the country.

Meanwhile, neighbors said they were concerned about what drug activity could mean for their families. 

"Nobody wants to live in a drug neighborhood," Jackson said. 

Det. McKinnon added, "they see the activity coming and going, they see the potential for violence, their kids out on bicycles, they don't want them in the middle of cross fires."

But Det. McKinnon said it was a rare find for the area.

"We don't see grow houses of this magnitude very often thankfully. This was a very large commercial enterprise involving nearly a half of a million dollars worth of drugs, right smack, dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It was a recipe for disaster and we are glad we got it closed down," Det. McKinnon explained.

Reinaldo Arrastia, 46, was arrested at the home and charged with armed trafficking in marijuana, cultivation of marijuana, and grand theft.