Photos Courtesy: Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
A nearby resident, who did not want to be identified, said “I had no idea that was going on. I thought it was just an abandoned house.” The home on a quiet residential street is a block away from Robles Elementary School on E. Sligh in east Tampa.
An early morning house fire at 4408 Perch Street in Tampa also snuffed out a home-grown marijuana operation. The fire happened around midnight. When investigators went inside to find the cause of the fire, they also discovered large and small marijuana plants in the home. The house was vacant during the fire.
After learning rooms in the single-story house had been changed to solely grow marijuana, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office District 1 deputies arrived and executed a court- authorized search warrant. Detectives found one large room with 15 large marijuana plants and 13 small marijuana plants. TECO also came and found an illegal electrical connection that provided free, undetected electricity to the house.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says the marijuana weighed 306 pounds and was worth $765,000 on the street.
Several suspects have been identified. Future arrests are coming as the investigation continues.
According to Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s records, the property owner is listed as Roger McDowell. WTSP-TV reports a tenant paid the homeowner in cash and on time.