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Police: Pot Lab Discovered In Hialeah Gardens Garage

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Lauren Pastrana joined CBS Miami in April 2012 as a reporter. Sh...
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South Florida Crime

HIALEAH GARDENS (CBSMiami) – Police discovered a marijuana grow house hidden inside a garage at a Hialeah Gardens home Thursday.

Approximately 18 pot plants were found at the home at 10435 NW 132 Street, according to detectives.

All told, roughly 100 lbs. of marijuana worth more than a quarter of a million dollars were seized, along with a boat from the home.

Police arrested Sandy Morales Castro, 33, and he was booked at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center Thursday evening.

Castro’s stepmother, Ada Perez, said she’s been living at the home for two months.

“I don’t know anything. Nothing,” Perez told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana. “And since I’m not familiar with that, they say there was a smell but I didn’t know the smell because I’d never seen it.”

Perez said the door to the garage was always locked.

She said the home belongs to her stepson so she respected his privacy and never tried to enter the garage.

“It’s crazy. I don’t know why he involved himself in that. I don’t know. I’m so shocked. This has been the most terrible day of my life,” Perez said as she waited for cops to clear the scene and allow her to reenter the home.

Castro faces several charges, including drug trafficking.

His stepmother says he has two children, including one who lives in Cuba.

She says Castro came to the United States seven or eight years ago.

Investigators said tip led them to the home.

“The electricity had been diverted into the residence in order to avoid having the extra cost for maintaining the plants,” Hialeah Gardens Police Sgt. Carlos Fojo said.

Hialeah Gardens Police worked alongside the Miami-Dade Police Department on the investigation.

This is latest in a string of recent grow house busts in Miami-Dade.

While detectives have found several hydroponics labs hidden underground, they say a garage set-up is equally as dangerous because of the possibility for an explosion due to a build up of chemicals.

Ada Perez gets emotional thinking about what could have happened, and what’s next for her family.

“It hurts my heart,” she said while fighting back tears. “His father will also suffer the consequences. His son. I can’t imagine.”

Castro’s father returned to the home late Thursday but declined to speak to reporters.

Castro is expected to go before a judge Friday.

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