Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fourth suspect turns himself in after police announce raids on Pasco marijuana operation

LAND O'LAKES — The fourth suspect in an upscale marijuana growth operation turned himself in to authorities Wednesday.

Kevin W. Schmitt, a 24-year-old dog groomer, is accused of renting a 2,138-square foot home at 3962 Lake Joyce Drive in Lake Padgett Estates and using it for an elaborate grow house.

It was raided — along with three other luxurious suburban homes — in a raid Tuesday. Authorities said they found 126 marijuana plants at the Lake Joyce home. On Tuesday, they told the public they were looking for Schmitt.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, this is Schmitt's second arrest in Florida. He was arrested Aug. 25 in Tampa by the Florida Highway Patrol and charged with possession of a controlled substance, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

The three other homes raided were a lavish 2,347-square-foot home at 3612 Morgans Bluff Court in Plantation Palms in Land O'Lakes; a two-story 1,520-square-foot home at 3115 Downan Point Drive in Ballantrae Village; and a four-bedroom, three-bath home at 1845 Highland Oaks Blvd. in Lutz, which is on the market for $350,000.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office says Robert and Katie Yates rented the Ballantrae and Plantation Palms homes, using the latter strictly as a grow house.

Authorities said the operation included lights on thin metal cables rotating over the plants to simulate the rising and setting of the sun. Deputies said they seized 90 plants, 12 pounds of processed marijuana and nearly $5,000 in cash from those two homes. The plants were labeled with positive thoughts, such as prosperity and financial freedom.

Robert Yates' stepfather, Reinaldo Ramirez, 58, is accused of running the Highland Oaks grow house. According to the Sheriff's Office, 41 more plants and 588 grams of dried marijuana were found there.

Col. Al Nienhuis of the Sheriff's Office, which investigated with the Pinellas County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, said all four operations were related.

Robert Yates, 33, and Katie Yates, 24, were both charged with trafficking marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. They were arrested during the raids Tuesday morning and released that day on $50,150 bail each. Ramirez is charged with cultivation of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released Tuesday on $5,150 bail.

Schmitt is charged with trafficking and cultivation of marijuana. He remained Thursday at the Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $55,000 bail.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Fourth suspect turns himself in after police announce raids on Pasco marijuana operation 10/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 15, 2009 10:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Withlacoochee River reaches crest, begins to fall


    After reaching its fifth-highest crest ever, the Withlacoochee River has begun to recede.

    An aerial view shows flooding in the Talisman Estates area along the Withlacoochee River in Hernando County.
  2. Hulk Hogan talks Tampa Bay, depression and politics on Fox News' 'Objectified'


    For better or worse, Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea is our guy.

    Hulk Hogan shows Harvey Levin his wrestling boots on Fox News' "Objectified."
  3. Pumpkin pileup: Fiery crash causes mess, closes portion of I-75 in Pasco


    Drivers on Interstate 75 in Pasco County should expect continued delays on Friday as road crews work to clean up a mess of debris — and pumpkins — left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash in the early morning hours.

    Road crews clean up a mess of crash debris - and pumpkins - left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash on Interstate 75 in Pasco County on Sept. 22, 2017. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  4. Cannon Fodder podcast: Key matchups in Bucs-Vikings game


    In our latest Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman breaks down five key matchups that will help decide Sunday's Bucs game against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Defensive lineman Chris Baker is a question mark heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings.
  5. Rick and Tom podcast: Will Bucs go 2-0? Are Gators on upset alert?


    It's football friday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' game in Minnesota, including the improved offensive line.

    Ali Marpet moved from guard to center on an improved Bucs offensive line.