Five arrested in alleged elaborate underground Clay County marijuana growing operation

June 26, 2013

Five men were arrested in a marijuana growing operation, alleged to include two 40-foot cargo trailers buried in a Clay County bunker. The five were charged with cultivation of marijuana and two of the men were also charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police said it was one of the largest grow operations in Clay County in recent years and local, state and federal investigators were all involved in the case, the newspaper reported.

There is one magic number in the case for prosecutors: 300. According to Florida drug statutes, that's the number of plants that triggers a first-degree felony. That means up to 30 years in prison and, if the state chooses to file it, a three-year minimum mandatory sentence. As it stands now, the five men are all charged with cultivation of marijuana, a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and no minimum mandatory sentence. According to the newspaper report, police found 216 plants at one location and 78 at another - bringing the total to 294. Police also seized other items in the raid last week, including three grocery bags of loose marijuana, more than six pounds of processed marijuana and a pick-up truck, the newspaper reported. Police said there were at least four sites used to grow the marijuana, so coming up with an additional six plants does not appear to be too difficult in this Clay County Drug Crimes Case. What may prove more difficult, however, is tying specific plants to individual defendants to reach the 300 plant threshold. In Clay County Drug Crimes Cases such as this, investigators will often focus in on one or two people leading the organization. There are already two men who are facing a possession with intent to sell charge, another third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison. In many cases, police will charge several people, five in this Clay County Drug Crimes Case, and then look for more information from those arrested. Sometimes, there's nothing like some time in jail - and the threat of more time in state prison - to get people to start talking and implicating others.

Police said this Clay County Drug Crimes Case is part of a larger, well-organized operation across Florida, and that the initial tip came during a traffic stop in South Florida, the newspaper reported. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney would expect to see more charges, more arrests and some sort of trafficking charges added as police sift through this Clay County Drug Crimes Case. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney represents people arrested on all types of drug charges - from possession to trafficking - involving all types of illegal drugs - from marijuana to crack cocaine.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.