Three people were arrested after Miami-Dade Police discovered a large scale marijuana grow operation at the base of a concrete-sealed pool complete with a hidden, underground tunnel.
The discovery was made Jan. 23 at the home at 30121 Southwest 147th Court when detectives approached a vehicle that was stopped outside and smelled a strong odor of marijuana and saw several bags of marijuana inside, Miami-Dade Police said Thursday.
After the driver of the car made contact with the homeowner, detectives received consent to search the house. Once inside, the detectives noticed a strong odor of marijuana in one of the rooms, police said.
In the room, detectives discovered a hatch that gave access to an underground crawl space that led to a fully operational hydroponics lab at the base of the home's pool, which was sealed by a concrete slab, police said.
A total of 82 live marijuana plants and five pounds of processed marijuana were found in the lab, police said.
"These criminals think outside the box in order to make a quick buck," said Alvaro Zabaleta, police spokesman.
Valexy Quintero-Consuegra, 37, Marley Torres-Denis, 27, and homeowner Eddy Pelaez-Ramirez, were arrested and charged accordingly, police said.
Quintero-Consuegra and Pelaez-Ramirez were charged with marijuana trafficking, conspiracy to traffic in marijuana, possession of a place to manufacture a controlled substance and grand theft, according to Miami-Dade Police reports. Torres-Denis was charged with marijuana possession. It was unknown whether they have attorneys.
"Who knows how long they have been functioning. They could have done this for years," said Zabaleta.