Published: Mar 30, 2011 5:33 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 30, 2011 2:33 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Cape Coral Police Department Vice and Narcotics Unit, along with detectives assigned to the Lee County Sheriff's Office Highway Interdiction Unit, culminated a two month-long joint investigation of marijuana grow houses in Lee County and the City of Cape Coral on Tuesday at approximately 2:00 p.m.

Cape Coral Police Detectives and LCSO Interdiction Detectives began working an active group of marijuana grow houses that were discovered in the Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres area.

Search warrants were executed on three grow houses in Cape Coral and one in Lehigh Acres. The Lehigh Acres grow house was determined to be within 1000 feet of Varsity Lakes Middle School on Gunnery Road.

The Cape Coral Police Department VIN Unit investigated the grow houses occurring within their jurisdiction. The first search warrant was executed on Friday, March 18. The Cape Coral Police Department VIN Unit (with the assistance of the SWAT, SCU, and K-9) executed a search warrant at 2427 NE 22 Avenue, Cape Coral. During a search of the residence, detectives discovered that all 3 bedrooms within the home had been converted into cultivation rooms. They seized 40 marijuana plants with a street value of $160,000.

Norges Rodriguez Carballo, 39, of Miami, was arrested by the Cape Coral Police Department and charged with: 1 count of trafficking in marijuana .

On Friday, March 29, Detectives with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Highway Interdiction Unit executed a search warrant on a complex indoor marijuana growing operation at 4318 14th Street West, Lehigh Acres.

Detectives discovered three of the rooms had been converted for the cultivation of marijuana. A total of 24 marijuana plants were seized resulting in a recovery of 22.5 pounds of marijuana valued at $96,000. Additional growing equipment including 1000 watt bulbs, potting soil, fertilizer, fans, and other paraphernalia used to cultivate marijuana were discovered. The power was illegally tapped and electricity was being stolen to power the operation.

Due to the nature of the incident and the large amount of recovered evidence, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Evidence Unit responded to assist in documenting and recovering the evidence.

Elizabeth Perez, 21, of Miami, and Armin Jesus Dominguez, 26, of  Hialeah Gardens, were arrested by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and charged with: 1 count of cultivation of marijuana 1 count of possession of over 20 grams of marijuana 1 count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of a school zone (Varsity Lakes Middle School)

Also on March 29, the Cape Coral Police Department executed two search warrants in Cape Coral at 2002 NW 18th Terrace and 2121 NW 18th Place. These warrants were the result of information gained through a joint investigation with the Lee County Sheriff's Office Highway Interdiction Unit.

At the time of the search, both residences had been abandoned and the cultivation systems had been dismantled. Still located within the homes was four pounds of marijuana plants and the required cultivation equipment to grow marijuana including soil, fertilizer and electrical/lighting equipment. The power was illegally tapped on both residences, and the electricity was being stolen to power the operation.

Osmany R. Portelles, 39, of Cape Coral, was arrested by the Cape Coral Police Department and charged with: 2 counts of cultivation of marijuana 2 counts of possession of equipment to cultivate A total of $264,000 in marijuana has been seized to date as a result of this joint investigation.

Arrest information and booking photos are available on the Sheriff's Office website at www.sheriffleefl.org under Arrests & Inmates / Search Lee County Arrests.