CAPE CORAL, Fla.- A three-month investigation, spanning multiple jurisdictions, came to an end when three people were arrested by Cape Coral Police in connection with a marijuana grow operation and a credit card counterfeiting operation.
Dalia Sanchez-Benavides, 28; Massiel Perez-Buxeda, 25; and Yankiel Blanco, 31 are accused of the crimes.
On January 23, North Port Police executed a search warrant on a cannabis grow operation in their city. A short time before the execution of this search warrant, a white Ford Fusion and a U-Haul truck were seen leaving the residence; however, North Port PD was unable to conduct surveillance on the vehicles. North Port PD contacted Cape Coral Police Department Vice, Intelligence, and Narcotics (VIN) Detectives and requested that they attempt to locate and conduct surveillance on these vehicles. Cape Coral VIN Detectives had been assisting North Port Officers for the past several weeks.
Cape Coral Police Department VIN detectives located the Ford Fusion at 824 Mohawk Parkway, Cape Coral and observed it leave the residence. Detectives followed the vehicle until they were able to develop probable cause and make arrangements to have the vehicle stopped by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. A subsequent search of this vehicle revealed over 17 pounds of cannabis. This led to the arrest of three suspects, two of which were suspects in the cannabis grow operations in North Port.
As a result of the surveillance and the search of the vehicle, Cape Coral Police Department VIN Detectives obtained a search warrant for 824 Mohawk Parkway. The warrant service, was conducted shortly after midnight on January 24, by the Cape Coral Police Department SWAT Team and VIN Unit, with the assistance of our Street Crimes Unit, K9, and Patrol Bureau. The warrant service revealed numerous pieces of equipment used in the construction and operation of a grow house.
Additionally, evidence of an ongoing credit card fraud scheme was found to include over 50 pre-paid debit cards that had their magnetic stripes re-encoded or that did not match the information embossed on the card. The residence appears to be a “base of operations” or a hub for the group’s illicit activities.
This search warrant led to the arrest of three additional suspects, one of which was a suspect in the cannabis grow operation in North Port. One of the subjects, Perez-Buxeda, was not only charged for her involvement in the grow operation, but also with Child Neglect for housing her child in the residence that was a hub of criminal activity.