Marijuana operation uncovered in two homes

Published: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 3:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 3:38 p.m.

The discovery of an indoor marijuana-growing operation at a Fort White home led officers to a neighbor's residence, where they found even more marijuana plants Monday evening, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office reported.

The Columbia County Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force found the plants at two Fort White homes next to each other on Southwest Newark Drive, one at 1498 and the other at 1534.

The task force had received information from the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office that led investigators to execute a search warrant at 1534 Southwest Newark Drive. Inside the building, officers found about 20 plants valued at $1,000 each in a bedroom, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. The room had been modified for growing marijuana and had special lighting, ventilation systems and irrigation. Officers estimated equipment in the room was worth several thousand dollars.

Officers went to the home next door to talk to the residents and see if they had knew anything about what was going on at the house.

But once at the home at 1498 Southwest Newark Drive they discovered another marijuana-growing operation and seized more than 60 plants. The setup inside the home was almost identical to what officers found in the first building, with plants growing in a bedroom and the laundry room.

Investigators arrested Stephanie Price, 26, Seth Shaffer, 20, and Lionel A. Martinez, 25, on charges of cultivation of cannabis, possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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