In response to citizen's concerns, on Thursday, December 11, 2014, the HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Task Force conducted an undercover investigation at 4006 South Sugar Creek Drive in Lakeland, where they dismantled a marijuana grow house and made two arrests.
As detectives approached the front of the home, they detected a strong odor of marijuana emanating from inside the closed garage. Detectives made contact with the homeowner, Christopher James Morris, DOB 12/8/1979, and as he opened the front door, detectives could smell marijuana coming from inside the home as well. A search warrant was conducted, and the following items were located and seized:
- 66 marijuana plants
- Several glass bongs used to smoke marijuana
- Loose marijuana in plastic Ziploc bags
- Hoods and lights used during marijuana grow operations
- Several dry marijuana plants hanging in a child's bedroom (later identified as a 6-year-old girl)
Morris was placed under arrest and charged with: one count Cultivation of Marijuana, two counts Possession of Marijuana WITS, one count Maintain Dwelling for Drug Sales in Presence of a Minor, one count Child Neglect, and one count Possession of Paraphernalia. He has been in the Polk County Jail on three prior occasions, for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, and possession of alcohol by a minor.
The other person in the home during the search warrant, Casey Harkins Ober, DOB 6/21/1995, of 204 Greenwoods Drive in Lakeland, was found holding a homemade cigar containing marijuana. He was placed under arrest and charged with Possession of Marijuana and Paraphernalia.
"We say it all the time - if you see something, say something. In this case, neighbors saw something, they said something, and now these two marijuana growers and users are behind bars where they can't put any more children in danger." - Sheriff Grady Judd