Citrus County

Deputies shut down 'drug lab' near school in Crystal River

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (WFLA) - Deputies in Citrus County say they shut down a drug lab that was discovered inside a house near a school and arrested the homeowner.

Detectives served a search warrant at a home on Northeast 7th Avenue in Crystal River on Friday following a weeks-long investigation that revealed the home was being used to grow marijuana and manufacture THC extract. 

The house is about a quarter of a mile away from Crystal River High School.

Detectives who searched the home say they found three rooms used to grow marijuana with lights, pots and watering systems inside. Detectives also found several glass beakers, stills and other items used to extract the THC from the marijuana plant. On Facebook, the sheriff's office said it resembled "a 'Breaking Bad' meth lab."

"This was not just your average marijuana bust," said Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast. "This was a highly sophisticated and elaborate lab with a high risk for a potential explosion. The chemicals that were being used were highly flammable. Not to mention this home was extremely close to Crystal River High School, which posed a serious threat to students." 

During the search, detectives seized 340 grams of THC liquid, 48 grams of THC wax, 44 plants and 318 grams of dried marijuana.

The homeowner, 33-year-old Michael Caputo, was arrested on several charges including manufacturing cannabis extract within 1,000 feet of a school.

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