NAPLES — A regional law enforcement sweep targeting indoor marijuana grow houses has netted 49 pot plants valued at $147,000 and resulted in one arrest in Collier County.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office joined federal, state and other local law enforcement agencies in Operation Rake -- spearheaded by the Southwest Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The operation was conducted throughout Collier, Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties.
Collier deputies, along with members of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Seminole Police Department, dismantled two grow houses in Collier during the operation.
On Wednesday, reports said detectives with Collier’s Vice and Narcotics Bureau executed a search warrant at a home in the 6000 block of Hidden Oaks Lane, in the Estates. They discovered two rooms inside the residence were used to grow marijuana.
Detectives seized 23 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $69,000. Reports said they also discovered high-intensity lights, light hoods, transformers and other equipment used to grow marijuana valued at $3,000.
Michael Angel Mercado, 42, who lived at the residence, was arrested and charged with manufacturing marijuana and possession of narcotic paraphernalia.
Collier detectives also executed a search warrant at home in the 4000 block of Fourth Avenue S.E. in Golden Gate Estates, where they discovered the residence was being used to grow marijuana.
Deputies seized 26 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $78,000 as well as $4,000 worth of equipment used to grow marijuana, reports said.