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Winter Haven, Florida - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says deputies have busted two elaborate grow houses. In the first case a large scale marijuana drug cultivation and drug trafficking organization that was operating in Polk County and south Florida has been shut down, he says.

Judd says the investigation resulted in the arrest of nine people, the seizure of 96 pounds of marijuana, an additional seizure of 70 marijuana plants, marijuana cultivation equipment, cash, and vehicles.

In May 2014, he says detectives started investigating the Hernandez marijuana drug trafficking organization. The sheriff says they learned 40-year-old Nelson Hernandez of Lake Wales traveled to south Florida, with a large amount of marijuana.

Investigators followed Hernandez to an address in the Lake Worth area. West Palm Sheriff's Office seized $17,000 in cash that was located in Hernandez's vehicle.

Through the investigation, detectives learned that Hernandez was worried about law enforcement catching him with his grow operation. Sheriff Judd says in the week before search warrants were served, Hernandez started dismantling marijuana grow houses.

Investigators once again followed Hernandez, this time to 214 Limpkin Lane in Frostproof, where they say they observed him removing several large containers, boxes, and large duffel bags, and taking them into the home. Detectives learned Hernandez had discussed with friends having to pay a person $10,000 to keep the items at his residence.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says deputies have busted a large scale marijuana drug cultivation and drug trafficking organization.

In all, detectives searched the following homes:

  1. 2201 Walk in Water Road, Lake Wales, Florida (Residence)
  2. 214 Limpkin Lane, Frostproof, Florida (Residence)
  3. 6074 Highway 60 E. Lake Wales, Florida (Residence)
  4. 2850 Walk in Water Road, Lake Wales, Florida
  5. 2920 Walk in Water Road, Lake Wales, Florida
  6. 2928 Walk in Water Road, Lake Wales, Florida

A total of 96 pounds of marijuana was seized from 214 Limpkin Lane, Frostproof.

A total of 70 marijuana plants and a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado pickup was seized from 2920 Walk In Water Road, Lake Wales.

$5,866 was seized from a Toyota Sequoia , a power sport four wheeler, a Nissan Altima, were all seized from 6074 State Road 60, Alturas, Florida.

A 2006 Ford F-350 and marijuana cultivation equipment were seized from 2201 Walk In Water Road, Lake Wales, which is where Hernandez' lives.

Judd says Hernandez made millions and recruited Cubans to do the work. He says, "No wonder there are efforts to legalize marijuana in the state of Florida. There are greedy people who want a piece of this without taking the risk of committing a criminal act."

Sheriff Judd says not all all of the homes contained active indoor marijuana growing operations, but they did still have signs of prior cultivation to include taps diverting electricity before the meter.

Judd adds as part of the investigation, a search was conducted at 185 111th Ocean, Marathon, Florida which is the home of Jesus Perdomo. They say they found an elaborate secret compartment in the house.

During the search, Polk County Sheriff's Office detectives, Monroe County Sheriff's Office detectives, and Special Agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement located documentation pertaining to businesses and bank accounts used to launder proceeds derived from the cultivation of marijuana, he says.

Court orders have been filed to freeze the bank accounts for investigation and potential forfeiture.

The sheriff says this isn't a victim less crime either. He says when 38 year old Zailen Hernandez Alonso's 5 year old son was taken away from her to be put in DCF custody she told the boy to "man up.

The Department of Children and Families also took another suspect's 14-year-old boy into state custody.

    Arrests include:

    1. Nelson Hernandez – DOB: 41 years old – Address: 2201 Walk In Water Road, Lake Wales, Fl.

    Charges: Cultivation of Cannabis (3 Counts), Trafficking in Cannabis, Conspiracy to Traffic in Cannabis, Conspiracy to Cultivate Cannabis, Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Device, Theft of Utilities (Electric), Maintain a Dwelling/Structure for Manufacture of Cannabis

    Place of Arrest: 214 Limpkin Lane, Frostproof, Florida

    Criminal History: Battery and Trespassing

    1. Zailen Hernandez-Alonso – 38 years old – Address: 2201 Walk In Water Road, Lake Wales, Fl.

    Charges: Conspiracy to Cultivate Cannabis, Maintain a Dwelling/Structure for Manufacture Cannabis, Theft of Utilities (Electric), Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Device.

    Place of Arrest: 2201 Walk In Water Road, Lake Wales, Fl.

    1. Yohandi Hernandez-Cruz – 26 years old – Address: 2850 Walk In Water Road, Lake Wales, Fl.

    Charges: Conspiracy to Cultivate Cannabis and Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Device.

    Place of Arrest: 2850 Walk In Water Road, Lake Wales, Fl.

    1. Reynel De Armas Fundora – 28 years old – Address: 2850 Walk In Water Road, Lake Wales, Fl. (He was receiving public assistance)

    Charges: Cultivation of Cannabis, Conspiracy to Cultivate Cannabis and Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Device.

    Place of Arrest: 2850 Walk In Water Road, Lake Wales, Fl.

    1. Yasmany Gallardo – 30 years old – Address: 743 Walk In Water Road, Lake Wales, Fl.

    Charges: Cultivation of Cannabis, Conspiracy to Cultivate Cannabis and Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Device.

    Place of Arrest: 6074 State Road 60, Alturas, Fl.

    1. Jose Diaz – 57 years old – Address: 214 Limpkin Lane, Frostproof, Fl.

    Charges: Trafficking in Cannabis, Conspiracy to Traffic in Cannabis, Maintain a Dwelling/Structure for Manufacture of Cannabis. (He was receiving public assistance)

    Place of Arrest: 214 Limpkin Lane, Frostproof, Fl.

    Criminal History: None

    Public Assistance: YES

    1. Francesca Lopez – 41 years old – Address: 214 Limpkin Lane, Frostproof, Fl.

    Charges: Trafficking in Cannabis

    Place of Arrest: 214 Limpkin Lane, Frostproof, Fl.

    1. Jesus Perdomo Padron – 41 years old – Address: 1185 111th Ocean, Marathon, Fl.

    Charges: Cultivation of Cannabis, Possession of Cannabis Under 20 Grams, Possession of Methamphetamine, Conspiracy to Cultivate Cannabis, Maintaining a Dwelling/Structure for Manufacture of Cannabis, Unlawful Use of Two-Way Device, and Theft of Utilities (Electric).

    Place of Arrest: 6074 State Road 60, Alturas, Fl.

    1. Guillermo Jorrin – 43 years old – Address: 819 Woodlawn Drive, Sebring, Fl.

    Charges: Trafficking Cannabis, Conspiracy to Cultivate Cannabis, Unlawful Use of Two-Way Device, Maintain a Structure for Manufacture of Cannabis.

    Place of Arrest: 214 Limpkin Lane, Frostproof, Fl.

    Criminal History: Disorderly Intoxication and Driving While Suspended or Revoked.

Several other new arrests were also made Monday night and early Tuesday morning by detectives related to a separate residential grow house operation in Poinciana. The sheriff says 37 large mature cannabis plants ranging between 6 to 8 feet in height were located in a home at 407 Magpie Court.

Sheriff Judd says they're not sure if the two operations are linked. He's also not sure if the suspects are related in the two cases.

The total weight of all the cannabis plants in the Poinciana case was approximately 307 pounds.

A couple, 32-year-old Lazaro Gutierrez Hernandez and 31-year-old Yureikis Gutierrez Hernandez, were also arrested and charged with cultivation of cannabis, trafficking in cannabis more than 25 pounds, maintaining a dwelling for narcotics manufacturing and other charges.

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