[PHOTO CREDIT: Lake County Sheriff’s Office]
[Original Publish Date: 05/20/20]
CLERMONT, Florida — The Lake County Sheriff’s Office announced the bust of one the largest marijuana grow house operations in Lake County history Friday — an operation that was stealing enough electricity to power a small town.
On Thursday, detectives with LCSO’s Special Investigations Unit responded to 9121 Florida Boys Ranch Road, Clermont and made contact with Narino Orozco-Montoya, 79. During their interview with Orozco-Montoya, detectives smelled a strong odor of marijuana and saw indicators of a cultivation operation, said LCSO Lt. John Herrell in a press release. Detectives obtained a search warrant and discovered a massive grow operation.
Detectives located seven makeshift buildings that housed the operation under video surveillance and found 300 pounds of processed marijuana, 767 large marijuana plants, two guns, large quantities of cannabis concentrate and cultivation equipment. The street value of the marijuana is estimated at $2.3 million, Herrell said. Electricity was being stolen to power the operation and the utility companies estimate the value of the stolen utilities to be in the millions, said Herrell.
Orozco-Montoya told deputies his brother, Sandy Orozco was on the property before they arrived and fled on foot; LCSO deputies searched but were unable to find him. Both brothers were born in Colombia and are part of a large Cuban drug ring that may have similar operations around Central Florida, Herrell said.
Orozco-Montoya was charged with cultivating marijuana, possession of cannabis concentrate, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a place for manufacturing a controlled substance and grand theft. He was released from the Lake County Jail on $40,000 bond.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]