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Investigators: Grow houses shut down; plants and bagged marijuana confiscated

By Staff | Jul 2, 2009

Investigators with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office shut down two grow houses and confiscated more than $300,000 worth of home-grown marijuana, officials said today.
Detectives with the Narcotics Section of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Special Investigations Division, arrested four men Wednesday.
The day began with surveillance of a suspected residence at 3012 6th Street West in Lehigh Acres. The homeowner, Jose Carlos Duran Alvarez, 42, was contacted and an elaborate marijuana cultivation operation was confirmed, officials said, adding there were 24 large plants inside the home.
Duran Alvarez was charged with trafficking in marijuana, marijuana cultivation and possession of marijuana producing equipment.
Detectives also set up surveillance at a second location, 13280 Sleepy Hollow Lane, Lehigh Acres.
A maroon colored PT Cruiser was parked in the garage of the residence. A short time later the vehicle pulled out of the garage, down the driveway and onto the road. A detective began to follow the car, which was occupied by two men, later identified as Lazaro Medina, 44, who was driving, and Leonardo Alfaro, 46.
The PT Cruiser suddenly accelerated and almost struck an oncoming vehicle, officials said. Due to the driver’s actions nearby patrol and narcotics units were alerted. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit arrived in the area as attempts began to conduct a traffic stop.
The vehicle eventually was stopped near the intersection of Larkwood Avenue and Anjaco Court. Both occupants were detained. Two large bags of processed marijuana, 40 pounds, were located about 50 yards north of the traffic stop with fresh tire tracks consistent with those of the PT Cruiser, officials said. Coupled with remnants of fresh clipped marijuana in the back of the vehicle, both the driver and passenger were arrested.
Medina was charged with fleeing and eluding, reckless driving and trafficking in marijuana. Alfaro was charged with trafficking in marijuana.
A return to the suspected grow house on Sleepy Hollow Lane resulted in the arrest of resident Josue Martinez , 34. Inside his house were four rooms used to grow marijuana, officials said. Forty mature plants were seized. Three of the rooms appeared to have been recently dismantled and investigators believe that is the marijuana located during the traffic stop.
Martinez was charged with trafficking in marijuana, marijuana cultivation and possession of marijuana producing equipment.
The total street value of the seized marijuana in the investigations was more than $300,000.00, officials said. The men arrested have been booked into the Lee County Jail.

Source: Lee County Sheriff’s Office