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Criminal organization behind massive Martin County grow house, investigators say

Indiantown Marijuana House Fire, Feb. 17, 2022
Posted at 4:05 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 18:21:22-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — The flames are out, but the dust hasn't settled after a home used to grow marijuana nearly burned to the ground in Martin County. Investigators said it's one of the largest operations they've seen in this area.

A multi-million dollar illegal operation, run by professionals, went up in smoke late Wednesday.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office is now working to answer who is behind it.

"We're looking at who had access to the property, who knew about the property, who had been on site of the property, where did this equipment come from," said Capt. Bill Dowdy.

Investigators said more than 35 large air conditioning units and four transformers hidden under palm trees were all stolen.

The masterminds also splicing and stealing power from FPL to help run the major marijuana grow operation.

"The brilliance behind how this was set up shows that they have done it before and they may be doing it elsewhere," Dowdy said.

Thursday morning it was all destroyed after a raging inferno at the 20-acre property off Southwest Fox Brown Road near Indiantown.

"This is a criminal organization that made a footprint, put the groundwork down and they built that organization at that site it's been there," Dowdy said.

The sheriff's office said it's not a victimless crime with likely millions stolen in power and equipment, illegal dumping of chemicals into the environment, and now a growing problem. More people coming up from South Florida, buying up more affordable property, and bringing more crime.

"It's common, it's continually occurring that they see us as more cost effective and come up and buy a substantial piece of property that they can hide something on," Dowdy said.

The sheriff's office believes the property owner is from Miami. At this point no charges have been filed.

But the investigation is still early and deputies remain on high alert.