GOLDEN GATE ESTATES — Two Golden Gate Estates couples were arrested Wednesday on drug charges after Collier deputies raided two homes and found a combined total of $399,000 worth of marijuana plants.
Deputies arrested 47-year-old Rafael Cartaya and 45-year-old Josefa Vidal at their home located at the 4200 block of 31st Avenue Northeast following a drug bust that took place in January 2010.
According to reports, deputies seized 81 marijuana plants and several items of equipment used to grow marijuana in January 2010 from a house located at the 4400 block of 12th Avenue Northeast in Golden Gate Estates.
The plants were valued at approximately $243,000 and the equipment at $10,000.
Deputies received information from a witness who stated the couple had spent several hours at the home while harvesting the marijuana plants.
Cartaya and Vidal face felony charges of trafficking more than 25 pounds of marijuana and possession of narcotic equipment paraphernalia.
Deputies also arrested Yasmeli Fumero, 26, and Juan Torres, 31, on Wednesday at their home, which is located next door to Cartaya and Vidal.
Deputies seized 52 marijuana plants, valuing $156,000, and $5,000 worth of equipment.
Deputies said they discovered $26,680 in cash on top of a laundry room cabinet.
According to reports, the grow room was only accessible through a nursery where Fumero and Torres's two female children reside. The two children, both under 2, were turned over to the custody of a relative.
Fumero and Torres face felony charges of trafficking more than 25 pounds of marijuana, possession of a place for manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a place for manufacturing a controlled substance with a minor present and possession of narcotic paraphernalia.
Although the suspects of both drug arrests live side by side, deputies say the cases are not related.