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Police report: Dead man’s home was marijuana grow house

By Staff | Jun 14, 2011

A Cape Coral man found fatally shot in his home Sunday reportedly had a marijuana cultivation operation set up inside of his residence.
Cape police responded to a 911 call at 5:13 p.m. at 427 N.W. 10th St. Upon arrival, officers met with Alina Valdez-Martinez, who told police that she had shown up at her ex-husband’s home to find him dead inside of the residence.
Ariel Desada, 40, was found lying on the floor, dead from a gunshot wound.
Valdez-Martinez told police that Desada had called her and commented about a gun shot, that he needed her help and that she needed to come over.
Inside the home, police also discovered an “elaborate marijuana cultivation operation” that consisted of four rooms, according to a report. Eighty-two plants weighing about 44 pounds were seized, along with plastic bags filled with marijuana buds that weighed about 13 pounds total.
Reported cultivation equipment also seized included 113 large buckets, 25 light hoods, 22 ballasts, 10 fertilizer jugs and 24 1,000-watt light bulbs.
During an interview with detectives, Valdez-Martinez stated that she knew the residence was used to grow marijuana, and that Desada used to keep her informed about specific details regarding the operation, the report states.
Valdez-Martinez reportedly told police that Desada had said someone was going to pick up 14 pounds of marijuana on Sunday to transport to Miami. She allegedly added that Desada owed $10,000 in drug money to people in Miami.
Detectives are working the death investigation as a homicide case.
Valdez-Martinez has not been charged in connection with her ex-husband’s death nor have police listed her as a person of interest.
According to the report, Valdez-Martinez also said she frequented the home because she liked having her children spend time with their father, Desada.
During an interview a 16-year-old reportedly told police that Valdez-Martinez helped Desada “harvest” the marijuana over the weekend.
On Monday, Valdez-Martinez, 44, of 1901 Linhart Ave., Apt. 32, Fort Myers, was arrested and charged with one felony count of marijuana traffick excess of 25 pounds or 300 plants or more. She was booked at the Lee County Jail.
As of Tuesday, she had been released on $30,000 bond.
Valdez-Martinez did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
She has a court date scheduled for July 18.
According to court documents, Desada had been found guilty in May for activities by an unlicensed contractor. He was ordered to pay a $510 fine.
In August 2009, Desada was a tenant in a residence that was foreclosed on. Prior to that, he and another woman were evicted from a home, the court documents state. Earlier that year, Valdez-Martinez filed for child support.
In 2008, a home that Desada and Valdez-Martinez owned was foreclosed on.