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Friday, October 15, 2021

Law enforcement seize 275 marijuana plants in northeast Ocala drug bust

Local law enforcement agencies seized 275 marijuana plants while investigating power theft at a northeast Ocala residence this week.

On Tuesday, agents of the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team (UDEST) arrested 49-year-old Alexis Diaz of North West Palm and 60-year-old Rigoberto Rodriguez of Miami after being called to investigate power theft at 6659 NE 9th Street Road.

Rigoberto Rodriguez
Rigoberto Rodriguez

According to a press release from the Ocala Police Department and Marion County Sheriff’s Office, employees of Clay Electric reached out to UDEST agents after they noticed an irregularity in service at a residence and, upon investigation, discovered the power was being diverted to a large metal building on the property for the purposes of growing marijuana.

UDEST agents went to the residence to conduct a power investigation. When there was no answer, agents approached the metal building in the back and heard voices and doors slamming inside, as well as the odor of raw marijuana.

Alexis Diaz
Alexis Diaz

Authorities obtained a search warrant and discovered a sophisticated marijuana growing operation with two rooms filled with marijuana plants, as well as a large quantity of equipment used to grow marijuana that had been destroyed.

Diaz and Rodriguez were arrested and transported to the Marion County Jail on Tuesday. They were charged with marijuana cultivation, while Diaz was additionally charged with trafficking in cannabis. Rodriguez had his bond set at $10,000 and Diaz had his bond set at $35,000. Both men are due back in court on October 19 at 9 a.m., according to jail records.