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Two arrested in growhouse busts in Cape

By Staff | Dec 28, 2009

Two people were arrested and charged after Cape Coral police busted two marijuana growhouse operations Monday.
Rolando Rumbao-Rios, 59, of 940 S.W. 116 Way, Davie, Fla., was charged with cultivation of marijuana, trafficking of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia related to cultivation, while Nelson Reyes Verdecia, 31, of 8540 S.W. 133 Ave., Apt. 412, Miami, was charged with cultivation of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia related to cultivation.
According to a prepared statement from the Cape Coral Police Department, police confiscated 30 plants, approximately 6 feet to 7 feet tall, from a home at 1606 N.W. Second St. The prepackaged weight of marijuana is estimated at 255.25 pounds with a street value of $250,000.
Authorities also discovered a cultivation operation being set up at a home at 3916 N.E. 16th Ave., where 16 25-gallon pots containing potting soil and partial root systems were discovered in an enclosed trailer in the driveway, the statement reports.
At 1:30 a.m. Monday, Cape police received an anonymous call about a potential growhouse operation and pending sale of the marijuana being grown at the house on Northwest Second Street. According to officials, the caller also stated that shots had been fired at the residence earlier.
Cape police set up surveillance and observed Rumbao-Rios walking around the residence and then leaving in a Dodge pickup truck with two other people. Officers initiated a traffic stop after the vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign, officials reported.
The officers asked the occupants to exit the vehicle, and the driver along with passengers Rumbao-Rios and Verdecia exited the truck. Officers could reportedly smell a strong odor of raw cannabis emanating from Rumbao-Rios.
During questioning, Rumbao-Rios admitted to police that there were plants growing inside the residence on Second Street. He also indicated that earlier in the evening, three people unknown to him had attempted to rip him off by crashing through the rear slider and ordering him to the ground, the statement reports. The would-be robbers fled the scene after a car passed by. Bullet holes were later found in the rear slider and bullet fragments were located on the lanai, according to reports.
Officials reported that police entered the home and found an elaborate marijuana cultivation operation on the east side of the residence. Detectives obtained a search warrant and seized equipment and the 30 marijuana plants.
During a search of the Dodge truck, a detective located a lease agreement linking Verdecia to the home on Northeast 16th Avenue, the statement reports. Upon arrival at the home, the detective observed that the windows on the north and west side appeared to be boarded while lights were on throughout the remainder of the home. The detective also noticed a faint odor of raw cannabis and a humming sound of an air filtration system from within the house.
According to officials, contact was made with a female at the home and permission was requested to search the residence. Following her refusal, a search warrant was obtained. Inside the home, police discovered an elaborate cultivation operation being set up along with the 16 pots in the trailer in the driveway.
Rumbao-Rios and Verdecia were taking to the Lee County Jail.