A nearly 200,000-square-foot patch of South Miami-Dade zoned for agriculture contained 1,692.5 pounds of marijuana in two grow houses, according to Miami-Dade police.
Thursday's seizure of 192 plants was "one of the largest marijuana hydroponics seizures in the history of Miami-Dade Police Department," said a police statement.
Miami-Dade police placed the street value of the marijuana seized at $3.8 million.
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Miami-Dade property records say the property at 16901 SW 200th St. has been owned since October 2015 by The Nursery Spot, a business formed in September 2015. The only agent for Homestead-based The Nursery Spot is Raimundo Rodriguez.
That's not Homestead resident Juan Oliva-Villar, 49, who was arrested on charges of marijuana trafficking.
According to the search warrant, a confidential source tipped police that a pair of marijuana hydroponic grow houses sat on the land. A detective approaching on May 30 wrote that he saw "two large black nursery style mesh canopies (shade houses) amongst the trees, which appeared to be covering two unknown style structures."
Strolling to the edge of a neighbor's land, the detective said, he could see that same kind of mesh covering a corner of the structure. Also, a smell gave him olfactory encouragement that his tipster was correct.
On the property, the detective and a sergeant saw a man.
"The unknown male was asked if he was the owner of the property and he advised that he was not and did not know who was," the search warrant read. "[The sergeant] asked the unknown male to walk to the front gate of the premises where he would be greeted by additional officers. The unknown male walked away toward the front gate and walked into one of the shade houses. A few minutes later he walked out of said shade house then walked into the second shade house where he remained. Several attempts to have him exit the premises were attempted via loud speaker; however, he never came out."
That was Oliva-Villar.
“The success of this investigation, the arrest of the defendant and the seizure of such an enormous amount of illegal drugs was due to the close collaboration between Miami-Dade County Police Department Narcotics Bureau and the State Attorney’s Office Narcotics Unit," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. "Drug traffickers should recognize that doing business in Miami-Dade’s neighborhoods will put them behind bars."