Marijuana 'grow boat' busted in Southwest Florida

SANIBEL, Fla. - (WINK/CNN) - Well, it was almost a perfect hiding place.

Police in Southwest Florida say they found a grow house right on the water inside a boat in Sanibel Island.

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They say the owner, identified as Erik James Brown, 34, was hiding 25 marijuana plants on his boat docked at a canal.

"I certainly had no idea that anything like that was going on," said neighbor Ty Symroski.

Neighbor Juergen Ebenhoeh said he woke up to the smell of diesel fuel and went to investigate.

 

He later found it was coming from a house boat docked two doors down.

"I was talking to my neighbor and he smelled it also, and then we called the police," said Ebenhoeh.

When police arrived to investigate the diesel smell, they encountered another smell coming from inside the boat.

That’s when they found more than 25 marijuana plants, drug paraphernalia and Xanax pills

Brown was arrested on charges of drug trafficking.

"That is quite surprising. I saw a police officer here but had no idea about the seriousness of the operation. I'm just glad nobody was dead," said Symroski.

Ebenhoeh said he had a feeling someone was living on the boat, but never even considered the possibility that drugs were being grown inside.

"I saw some people going in and going out also in the night, sometimes we have been disturbed in the night because somebody was there, but I did not imagine this," said Ebenhoeh.

He says he's relieved police caught the operation before it grew out of control.

Brown is in custody at the Lee County Jail and facing charges of marijuana trafficking in excess of 25 pounds.

His trial is scheduled for April 23.

Courtesy WINK via CNN Newsource