PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Port St. Lucie police busted two marijuana grow “warehouses” Wednesday, seizing five guns and 200 pounds of marijuana worth about $550,000, according to detectives.
Vladimir Barrios, 38, was arrested after detectives located the two warehouses -- one at 871 SW South Macedo Boulevard and the other at 802 SW Biltmore Drive.
Jay Fazzino works as a mechanic with Turn 2 AutoCare, restoring and rebuilding classic cars.
He sensed something wasn't quite right with his neighbor on Macedo Boulevard.
"If you came in on the weekend, it sounded like they were building the Taj Mahal inside there on a Sunday afternoon with the doors closed," said Fazzino.
"When I walked in, I went 'wow I cannot believe the level of work and workmanship that was conducted in this,'" said Lt. Scott Beck with the Port St. Lucie police department.
It took a Florida Power and Light employee over an hour to figure out where the warehouse was allegedly stealing electricity from.
Inside the Macedo Boulevard warehouse, a 10-ton AC unit was humming along with a sophisticated watering operation for the plants.
Detectives say the pot plants were growing in different stages in different rooms to keep a constant stream of revenue coming in.
Their investigation also led them around the corner to a warehouse on Biltmore Drive, and also to a home on Belmont Circle where they arrested Barrios.
Besides the drugs, police seized five guns, including a Russian assault rifle, a bullet proof vest, and 34-thousand bucks in suspected drug money.
Police say Barrios was a serious criminal with a prior murder arrest and manslaughter conviction in the 1990s.
"You don't have this type of weaponry. You don't have bullet proof vests. You just don't have that if you're not," said Lt. Beck.
Police are still looking for one other man in this case and detectives say it's likely these guys are behind other grow warehouses they just haven't found yet.
Barrios, of Port St. Lucie, was charged with cultivating marijuana, marijuana trafficking, possession with intent to sell marijuana, marijuana distribution, drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.
The wptv.com web team contributed to this report.
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