PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Police raided a house in a residential Port St. Lucie community Wednesday that they say contained a significant marijuana growing operation.
"About 77 plants, and about 30 pounds of harvested marijuana," said Port St. Lucie Police Lieutenant Scott Beck. He estimated the street value to be around $250,000.
The owner or owners of the grow house are still on the loose, police said.
Beck said police were able to take down the grow house, located at the 1000-block of Coleman Avenue, because one concerned neighbor picked up the phone and called them.
He said that simple action has a far-reaching impact.
"Any time you can remove an operation like this, you're not only talking about Port St. Lucie," he explained. "This is probably shipping throughout the state of Florida, possibly all over the East Coast."
Michael Williams, a neighbor who lives three houses down from the suspected grow house, said he's contacted police before about one of the grow house residents.
"I saw him attacking a guy with a big samurai sword," said Williams. "Living in the neighborhood, we wanted to take care of the neighborhood and look out, so we kind of thought that was odd and crazy, hacking at a guy with a sword."
Police confirm that sword incident was one of several arrests on the grow house residents' records.
Beck said there have been more than 100 grow house busts within the city over the past five years.
He said, just like in this case, they usually start with concerned citizens alerting authorities about suspicious activity.
"Citizens are our lifeline," said Lt. Beck. "There's only 210 of us. There are 170,000 citizens in our area. Without good public relations, without good citizens coming forward and providing us information, our job is just that much more difficult."