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Pot grower cuts deal, gets 3 years in prison

John D. Swenson, charged last September with growing one of the biggest marijuana crops in Hillsborough County history, received a three-year prison sentence Thursday.

Swenson, 36, pleaded guilty in November to growing 2,727 pot plants in a secluded, five-bedroom house in Lutz. Timers controlled the crop's supply of water, carbon dioxide and light.

If Swenson had not cooperated with drug investigators since, he would have been subject to a minimum, mandatory sentence of 10 years.

Swenson's assistant federal public defender, Sharon Lever, told U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday in court Thursday that Swenson had tried "to provide the government with information about his crime and about marijuana-growing in general."

Prosecutors did not object to the lower sentence.

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