Martin County Residents Arrested in Marijuana Grow House Operation
NOV 06 -- Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Office and Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, announced the arrests and Indictment of Kobie Oronde Gary, 30, Steven Adam Shepherd, 34, and Scott Daniel Gibson, 31, all currently of Martin County, Florida. A status conference is scheduled for December 11, 2009 in Ft. Pierce, FL.
The Indictment charges conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute more than 100 marijuana plants, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 846; manufacturing and possessing with intent to distribute more than 100 marijuana plants, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1); and maintaining a place to manufacture and distribute marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 856(a)(1).
According to the criminal complaint affidavit unsealed on November 5, 2009, deputies from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) received information that Kobie Gary was funding a marijuana grow house, operated by Scott Gibson, in Stuart, FL. In April 2009, law enforcement observed Scott Gibson a number of times at a Port St. Lucie. In August, 2009, Gibson was arrested in Stuart after deputies found jars of marijuana in his house and marijuana plants growing in his garden.
According to the affidavit and testimony during the court hearings, detectives then learned that the grow house had moved from Stuart to Hobe Sound. In October, after a tip regarding a strong odor of fresh marijuana in the neighborhood, MCSO set up surveillance of a residence in Hobe Sound. During the surveillance, they observed Scott Gibson and Kobie Gary visiting the Hobe Sound residence several times in two weeks. On October 27, 2009, detectives executed a state warrant to search the Hobe Sound residence. Gary was detained by his car as he was leaving the residence. Steven Adam Shepherd was arrested inside of the residence.
A subsequent search of the residence led to the discovery of a fully operational marijuana grow house, with marijuana plants growing in each of the four bedrooms. The bedrooms were equipped with an intricate lighting system, consisting of high powered lamps, ballast, and a ventilation system with a carbon filter. A total of 234 marijuana plants (with an intact root system) were seized from the rooms. In addition, the search resulted in the seizure of a UPS box addressed to Kobie Gary’s residence in Jensen Beach, FL, from an online garden center. The box contained an invoice in Kobie Gary’s name for an order of 7 million live beneficial nematodes and 1500 live lady bugs – both used to control other harmful insects and destructive plant pests. According to UPS tracking, the package arrived at Gary’s residence at approximately 2:27 p.m. on October 27, 2009. In Gary’s vehicle, detectives located a key to the front door of the property, as well as a receipt indicating that Gary had been paying the light bill for the Hobe Sound residence.
On November 4, 2009, a federal search warrant was executed at Gary’s Jensen Beach residence, where they found the lease to Hobe Sound house, jars with marijuana residue and numerous receipts for materials commonly used to establish a marijuana grow-house operation.
If convicted, the defendants face 5 to 40 years’ imprisonment on each count of conspiracy to manufacture and possession with intent to distribute 100 or more marijuana plants and manufacturing and possessing with intent to deliver 100 or more marijuana plants. In addition, the defendants face up to 20 years’ imprisonment on each count of maintaining a place to manufacture and distribute marijuana.