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Sheriff Gee announces major drug bust in West Hillsborough

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, from left, Maj. Frank Losat and Sheriff David Gee discuss the investigation.

MONICA HERNDON | Times

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, from left, Maj. Frank Losat and Sheriff David Gee discuss the investigation.

TAMPA — Two major investigations into illegal drug trafficking in Hillsborough County produced 51 arrests and the seizure of more than $1 million worth of marijuana and synthetic marijuana, the Sheriff's Office announced Friday.

Tips to Crime Stoppers played a major role in identifying marijuana grow houses throughout the Town 'N Country area, Riverview and parts of Pasco County, said Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee.

"What is more important than statistics are the crimes that are related to these grow houses," Gee said. "They're in neighborhoods where people are raising families."

Deputies discovered six grow houses while executing 10 search warrants in Hillsborough County under "Operation Fall Harvest." In all, 481 marijuana plants and 24.5 pounds of processed marijuana were seized, along with 10 firearms. The marijuana is worth about $1.4 million in street value, the Sheriff's Office said.

Five businesses were also investigated for selling synthetic marijuana, or "spice.''

At businesses near the University of South Florida, officers seized 150 pounds of spice — about 7,200 packages — worth about $352,000. The investigation also yielded 222 pounds of Damiana leaves used to make spice and $10,500 in U.S. currency, the Sheriff's Office said.

Sheriff Gee announces major drug bust in West Hillsborough 05/19/17 [Last modified: Friday, May 19, 2017 9:19pm]
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