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Rental Properties in South Florida Used as Marijuana Grow Houses

Posted on January 12, 2010 3:00 AM EST

Several property owners from Miami and South Florida have moved on to greener pastures in states like Colorado and North Carolina. One thing they have in common is that they leave their family homes in the care of real estate agents and property managers and sleep well at night. That is until they are contacted by the property managers or law enforcement who break the bad news to them. Not only was your house used to grow marijuana, but your renters turned who turned your home into a marijuana trafficking den caused several thousands of dollars in damage. It has been become more prevalent over recent years for Miami residents to head north, rent a home, and began a marijuana trafficking operation. Miami criminal lawyers follow their clients north and represent them in towns, such as Port St. Lucie, Ft. Pierce, Satellite Beach and points north and west of those locations.

Anyone considering moving north to begin a marijuana grow house operation should keep many things in mind. First, operating a grow house will certainly always carry a mandatory minimum sentence if the amount of the crop amounts to trafficking. Anyone caught with in excess of 25 pounds or marijuana or more than 300 plants is subject to a three year mandatory sentence. Anyone caught with in excess 2000 pounds of marijuana or 2000 plants faces a seven year mandatory prison sentence. Finally, anyone caught with in excess of 10,000 pounds or marijuana or 10,000 plants is subject to a fifteen year mandatory sentence. While many Miami criminal attorneys are successful in defending marijuana trafficking cases in Miami-Dade County, the task becomes more difficult the further the north the case is heard.

There are several reasons why defending marijuana trafficking cases become more difficult the further north one travels in the State of Florida. First, Miami-Dade County is suffocated with criminal cases including marijuana trafficking. Prosecutors at the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office are overwhelmed and marijuana is not considered the crime of century. However, further north up Florida's coast and in Central Florida, prosecutors do not carry the same caseloads and can focus more attention to their marijuana trafficking cases. Secondly, rural jurisdictions do not take kindly to Miami residents traveling to their quaint little town and starting up marijuana grow house operations. Judges and prosecutors alike will try to make examples of these individuals in an effort to curb the problem from escalating.

The courts systems in these small Florida jurisdictions are presided over by judges who are elected by the general populous. Destruction of residents homes caused by pot growing operations, if not handled properly by the courts, could cost a judge an election. Residents homes are destroyed when they are converted to a marijuana grow houses. Ceilings are torn down and foundations uprooted to create the hydroponic garden. Thousands of dollars in damage is caused which is sometimes not covered by insurance. South Florida residents not only face stiff penalties for marijuana trafficking, but may have difficulty posting bail after their initial bond hearing if the prosecutor seeks an increased bond which is granted by the judge.

Renters Turn Brevard Homes into Pot Farms, Florida Today, January 11, 2010.
Categories: Drug Offenses