Feds: Hydroponic Pot Operation Was A Family Affair

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A South Florida hydroponic marijuana operation which was reportedly a family affair is out of business.

On Tuesday six members of the Santiesteban family and 10 others were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs.

Those charged include Gilberto Santiesteban Sr., Alexander, Derrick, Darvis, Gilberto Jr., and Yadira. The ten others were people hired as caretakers at the homes where the plants were grown who would not only grow the plants but also package it and drive it to New York and New Jersey where it would be sold for $4,800 a pound, according to federal prosecutors.

Derrick,  Gilberto Jr., Yadira, Norge Manduley, and Juan Felipe Castañeda were also charged with kidnapping and murder for allegedly abducting and killing a caretaker who stole 30 plants. His body was found dumped on the side of the road, his van torched in the Everglades.

Click Here for more on the operation from CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

The operation reportedly used 17 homes in Miami-Dade to grow their crop along with a house in St. Cloud and another Monticello, New York.

If convicted of this charge, the defendants face a maximum possible statutory sentence of 10 years to life in prison.


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