Two Hillsborough County residents are facing marijuana charges after officers reported finding plants and other items at a home on Eldorado Drive. According to reports, the investigation started after the Tampa Electric Company found that the house had an illegal connection that was siphoning power to the house. Tampa Electric estimated that the value of the unmetered power was approximately $4,980.
When officers with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office when to investigate, they claim that the owner of the house gave them permission to search the residence. It was during this search that police claim they found 19 marijuana plants, 218 pounds of marijuana and other items used to grow the plants. Deputies estimate the street value of the marijuana to be around $436,000.
Two residents of the home, a 36-year-old female and 37-year-old male, have both been charged with theft, marijuana trafficking and cultivation and possession of drug paraphernalia. While marijuana is slowly becoming legalized for medicinal use and is currently legal for recreational use in one state, that does not mean that possessing or trafficking the substance is not a serious crime.
Penalties for drug trafficking are especially severe and can include lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines, even for first time offenders. A drug conviction on your criminal record can also have lifelong consequences in regards to your employment in the future. Prosecutors handle these cases very aggressively, and it is important to understand how the laws apply to your case and what your defense options are. A criminal defense attorney can help you determine if your rights were violated at any point during the investigation and determine what your next steps should be.
Source: The Tampa Tribune, “Two arrested after Hillsborough sheriffs uncover marijuana grow house” Dec. 19, 2014