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Friday, May 25, 2018
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Nearly 500 pounds of pot seized in Spring Hill grow house

SPRING HILL — Hernando County Sheriff’s Office deputies nabbed nearly 500 pounds of marijuana from a grow house at 1021 Edgehill Ave. on Tuesday.

Jorge Gutierrez, 25, and Elcides Barbarito, 47, were arrested at the house, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Gutierrez and Barbarito were each charged with trafficking in marijuana, cultivation of marijuana, possession of a structure for trafficking in or manufacturing in controlled substances and trespass in a utility fixture, records show.

Deputies got a search warrant after Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative officials requested assistance with an investigation of a possible power diversion at the house, the sheriff’s office said.

When detectives knocked at the front door of the house Tuesday, there was no response, but detectives stationed at the back of the house saw someone leave and throw a large garbage bag over a privacy fence, the sheriff’s office said.

A second person from the house was standing near another nearly-full black garbage bag, the sheriff’s office said, adding that both bags were full of marijuana.

Gutierrez and Barbarito tried to run, but were caught near the front of the property, the sheriff’s office said.

Detectives found 64 pounds of marijuana that was “ready for distribution” and another 437 1/2 pounds of marijuana plants and plant material, the sheriff’s office said.

Also seized from the house was a video surveillance system, cultivation equipment, scales and packaging, the sheriff’s office said.

Gutierrez and Barbarito claimed they could not speak English and did not make statements to detectives, the sheriff’s office said.

Gutierrez was being held in the Hernando County Jail on Wednesday with bond set at $34,000. The jail’s web site did not have information on Barbarito on Wednesday afternoon.

The sheriff’s office investigation continued Wednesday.

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