LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida man is in custody after detectives made what may be the largest marijuana bust in the county’s history, estimated to be worth millions, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Lake County detectives, along with the Special Investigations Unit, responded to 9121 Florida Boys Ranch Road in Clermont Tuesday to conduct an investigation into a suspected indoor marijuana grow operation after receiving tips regarding the location.
Once they arrived at the home, detectives made contact with 79-year-old Narino Orozco-Montoya, who lives on the property, according to a news release.
Detectives said they could smell a strong and distinct odor of marijuana on the property while interviewing Orozco-Montoya and found indications of a marijuana cultivation operation, at which time they secured the scene and obtained a search warrant for the premises.
According to investigators, detectives discovered one of the largest marijuana growing operations in the history of Lake County -- an operation that required a large amount of utility services, which were determined to be stolen from the county.
Utility services personnel responded to the scene and discovered that enough power was being stolen to power a small town, and estimated the dollar amount of stolen utility resources to be in the millions.
“Detectives worked diligently to dismantle the operation, which resulted in the seizure of over 300 pounds of processed marijuana, large quantities of cannabis concentrates, two firearms, cultivation equipment, and 767 large marijuana plants,” a spokesperson said in a news release. “The street value of the marijuana seized is estimated to be approximately $2.3 million.”
Jail records show Orozco-Montoya was taken into custody by Lake County deputies and charged with cultivating marijuana, possession of cannabis concentrates, grand theft, trafficking in marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a place for manufacturing a controlled substance.
Orozco-Montoya later told deputies his brother, Sandy Orozco, was involved in the grow operation, but he was not located by deputies, according to a news release.
The Sheriff’s Office said both Orozco-Montoya and his brother were born in Colombia and are a part of a large illegal Cuban drug ring that may have similar operations in other parts of Central Florida.