TAMPA — A man was arrested Saturday after deputies discovered he was growing marijuana and illegally tapped electricity to do it.
Pedro Luis De Armas Oliva, 49, was seen leaving his residence, 6521 Alta Monte Drive, about 5:20 p.m. when Hillsborough Deputy Brad Sutter saw him carrying two large black garbage bags, which he placed into the trunk of a Mazda sedan.
Sutter followed the vehicle and after seeing the Mazda driver, Siomara Estrada-Angel, commit a traffic offense, he pulled the car over. As he approached the car, the deputy smelled marijuana, according to a Sheriff's Office report.
The deputy found that the two black garbage bags in the trunk were filled with fresh cut marijuana plants, deputies said.
De Armas Oliva told deputies he did not know what was inside the garbage bags but said he had shown Estrada-Angel a large amount of marijuana he had drying in a room inside his house, deputies said.
Deputies searched the house and found high sodium vapor lights, ballasts, 24 marijuana root balls, an electrical board, digital scales and a plastic baggy and loose marijuana.
De Armas Oliva told deputies he had lived at the house for a month, but Tampa Electric Co. investigator Daniel Obregon told authorities that De Armas Oliva set up a utilities account with the company Jan. 6.
Obregon discovered an illegal tap supplying unmetered power to the residence and estimated the total theft of electricity over the past three months to be more than $4,600, deputies said.
De Armas Oliva was arrested and charged with trafficking of marijuana, cultivation of marijuana, renting for the purpose of trafficking marijuana, grand theft of electricity and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was being held without bail Sunday in the Hillsborough County jail.