Florida Firefighters Accused Of Growing Marijuana

STUART, Fla. --

Two St. Lucie County firefighters grew hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of marijuana inside a Stuart warehouse, Martin County sheriff's officials said.

Herman Michael Gonzalez, 36, was arrested Tuesday morning after Martin County Sheriff's Office detectives said they found marijuana at 7564 SW Jack James Road.

Later Tuesday, authorities announced the arrest of Edward Nobles, also a St. Lucie County firefighter.

St. Lucie County Firefighter Accused Of Growing Pot

According to the arrest report, officers found about 80 cannabis plants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and grow-house equipment, such as air filters.

Investigators said they got a tip about a month ago that someone was running a grow house operation in the warehouse area just west of Interstate 95 and off of Jack James Drive.

"It was a room built inside the warehouse with all of your hydroponic grow lights and equipment, all your fertilizers and about 80 potted plants about 5 feet tall," Martin County sheriff's Lt. Kenneth Pickering said.

Investigators immediately launched an investigation and at about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday, officers showed up at bin number 7564 with a search warrant and took Gonzalez into custody.

Hank and Joan Stasiewicz were cleaning their boat inside their warehouse bin when Martin County sheriff's deputies arrived, WPBF News 25's Angela Rozier reported.

"Four trucks arrived really quick early this morning. I saw they had their vests on and I said, 'There's a raid going down.'"

Deputies described the operation as very sophisticated, saying the suspects picked a corner unit and dug a whole in the floor to tap into the building's main power line to avoid suspicion and high electricity bills.

Gonzalez is charged with cultivation of cannabis, trafficking in cannabis over 25 pounds, operating a grow house and possession of marijuana with intent to sell what investigators said is worth about $400,000 on the streets.

Gonzalez remained held at the Martin County Jail on $105,000 bond and has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Charges against Nobles were not immediately reported.

A St. Lucie County Fire-Rescue representative said the department is awaiting more information from police.

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