53 marijuana grow houses busted in Hillsborough this year

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Medical marijuana is legal in Florida but that has not stopped pot sales from continuing to explode on the underground market, according to law enforcement.

Inconspicuous looking grow houses have become a favorite of drug dealers and a target for law enforcement.

"These are multimillion-dollar operations these are not somebody who has a small bag of weed on them,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Larry McKinnon.

Deputies say robberies and murder come with the territory. Two years ago in Brandon, a brutal killing was connected to a grow house operation.

"When you have that combination in a residential neighborhood it's a recipe for disaster,” he said.

So far this year the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office has busted 53 grow houses. Adding it all up, they have seized more than two tons of pot valued at more than $7 million. 

"In the back here we have boxes of marijuana that's been recovered by marijuana grow task forces," said Detective Daniel Johnson.

Tuesday morning, nearly 900 pounds of pot went straight to the incinerator at McKay Bay.

"The flame is so hot it immediately incinerates it there's no smoke any residual smoke goes thru filters it’s no harm to the public," Detective Johnson said.