Miami-Dade police uncovered a hydroponic marijuana laboratory within a nursery in deep South Miami-Dade late Wednesday, confiscating 495 pounds of the plants with an estimated street value of $2.4 million, and marking the second pot house discovery in less than two weeks.
Police charged Arsenio Guerra, 43, of Miami, with one count of marijuana trafficking.
“What makes this lab unique is the structure that housed the laboratory, the sophistication of the equipment that was used, and clearly the volume that was being harvested,” said Roy Rutland, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Acting on a tip, police obtained a search warrant for the property at Southwest 204th Street and 170th Avenue. When police searched the property, they found two rooms used as marijuana hydroponic labs, each with 38 live plants.
According to the arrest report, Guerra was hiding on the property. After a search of several hours, he was found and taken into custody.
The discovery marks the second clandestine marijuana laboratory uncovered in Miami-Dade since late September, following an explosion at a Southwest Miami-Dade home used to grow marijuana.
A morning blast at the home at 6355 SW 151st Pl. on Sept. 22 caused the roof to lift off the home and then crumble back down. Windows were blown out, roof tiles shattered and insulation went flying. A long crack stretched from one side of the home to the other.
The home, which had been rented, was deemed unsafe and was demolished earlier this week.
Rutland said it is not uncommon for narco-trafficers “to booby trap” such laboratories.
Had there been an explosion at the latest lab, it would have been devastating to the area, he said, because of the size of the lab and the volatile chemicals that were found.
“Fortunately, in this case,” he said, “they were able to dismantle the lab safely and crop all these trees and impound it as evidence.”
By Ina Paiva Cordle