Crews discover marijuana grow operation after Hillsborough home catches fire

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) - Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies pulled more than 250 pounds of marijuana from a home in Clair-Mel after it caught fire Thursday morning.

Deputies found 37 marijuana plants growing inside the house at 1607 Hartley Road, according to sheriff's office spokesperson Cpl. Larry McKinnon.

The marijuana has a street value of nearly $400,000, McKinnon said.

"Two houses down from mine, that's kind of shocking. I didn't know that kind of stuff was going on," said neighbor Carlton Blair.

McKinnon said after the house caught fire, crews found the marijuana being grown in two rooms.

"In these grow houses; there are a lot of very high-intensity lamps, that's why you see such high electric bills," McKinnon said.

TECO discovered that just over $11,000 worth of electricity was stolen from the home, McKinnon said.

So far no arrests have been made.

McKinnon said deputies have busted 21 grow house across the county this year.

People in Clair-Mel are glad this one is gone.

"One way or the other, the fire got them out of there and that's what we need to get them out of the neighborhood," Blair said. "We don't need drugs around here. That's a good thing. I hate to see somebody's house catch fire but they got to go one way or the other."

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