BROOKSVILLE — Two men have been arrested on charges of drug trafficking and cultivating marijuana after deputies discovered 155 pounds of marijuana and 169 marijuana plants in a U-Haul van during a traffic stop Wednesday, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.
Ricardo Fernandez, 54, of Tampa was spotted driving a U-Haul south on Batten Road with 55-year-old Juan Encarnacion-Gonzalez of Miami in the passenger seat, according to deputies. The truck crossed into the opposite lane on several occasions and failed to come to a complete stop at the intersection with Hayman Road. Deputies pulled the vehicle over at Hayman and Dan Brown Hill roads.
Fernandez told authorities he had recently discovered a grow operation on his property. He said he rented the U-Haul truck and asked Gonzalez to help him dismantle the operation and take it to the dump for destruction.
After a search warrant was obtained for the truck, deputies found the marijuana and plants, as well as a fan used to process marijuana.
Both remained in custody Thursday at the Hernando County Detention Center.