Grow house in garage nets Estates man three years in prison

Juan Diunesky Hidalgo

Juan Diunesky Hidalgo

— A 28-year-old man who operated a marijuana grow house out of a garage in a Golden Gate Estates home has been sentenced to three years in a state prison.

Collier Circuit Judge Frank Baker imposed that term, the minimum mandatory required under the law, on Juan Diunesky Hidalgo, who lived at 711 Seventh St. N.W., after adjudicating him guilty of trafficking between 25 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana. The judge on Tuesday also fined him the mandated $25,000 and suspended his driver license for the required two years.

Hidalgo also was sentenced to time served, a day in county jail before he posted $120,000 in bond, on a misdemeanor drug paraphernalia charge involving the growhouse equipment.

He had faced up to 30 years in a state prison on the felony, but was sentenced as part of a plea agreement and must serve every day of the minimum mandatory three-year term.

Reports show Collier County sheriff’s vice and narcotics investigators found the grow operation in the garage on Sept. 19, 2007, after Hidalgo gave them consent to search the home. They found 88 marijuana plants worth about $176,000, and more than $10,000 in equipment, including cooling units, transformers, light bulbs and an irrigation system.

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