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Deputies arrest Brandon man, 29, after discovering 54 marijuana plants

Published Mar. 28, 2012

TAMPA — Deputies arrested a 29-year-old man after discovering dozens of marijuana plants growing in his Brandon home just 100 feet from Horace Mann Middle School.

Arianny Salvia-Cartaya was arrested at his Larson Avenue home just before 6 a.m. Tuesday after detectives executed a search warrant. He was charged with marijuana trafficking, manufacturing, possession with the intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, owning or leasing a property for the purpose of trafficking and theft of electricity.

Inside the home were three rooms converted for the sole purpose of growing marijuana, complete with hydroponics, lights, fans and a second air conditioning unit to regulate air temperature, officials said.

Detectives discovered 54 marijuana plants, or about 42 pounds of the drug with an estimated street value of $168,000, deputies said. They also found about $7,600 in cash, a 2003 Ford pickup and two guns.

In order to maintain the marijuana grow operation, Salvia-Cartaya tapped into a Tampa Electric Co. main service that allowed for unmetered electricity, deputies said.

Salvia-Cartaya, a self-employed welder, was being held at a Hillsborough County jail without bail Tuesday, according to records.