In Miami-Dade area, almost all homes are identical since it is a suburban neighborhood. A small front yard, an ample, ranch-style home, and a fair share of gossip surrounding the owners.
Some suspicions were surrounding the house, but they weren’t your normal suspicions. The couple who lived there was rarely seen outside and when they were, they seemed to be up to something very sneaky.
It wasn’t until the police were called in that the couple’s secrets were finally laid bare…
1. Suspicions and Whispers
This house in Miami is located in a normal neighborhood and like any neighborhood, it had its share of nosey neighbors, sideways whispers, and gossip. There were suspicions flying around the area, whispers that someone on Southwest 220 St. was up to something that is not good.
2. Probable Cause
The police had an inkling that something illegal was going on, that someone in that neighborhood was engaging in some questionable activities, they just couldn’t find a solid proof to validate their theory.
3. Monday Night
The police department of southwest Miami-Dade County began to plan for a raid. They weren’t sure what they will find, but as police officers, they are obliged to do their job by reacting properly on various suspicions by the citizens. Their first stop was the result of a tip: house number 12485.
As the police officers made their way through the house, they searched for any sign of something awry. On the surface, 12485 Southwest 220 St. seemed like any other house in that neighborhood, a little messy perhaps, but they found nothing spectacular in it.
5. The Hatch
As part of searching the house, they went into the master bedroom and looked around. An officer spotted something beneath the baby’s crib. It was a hatch dug into the floor and it was covered in carpet and hidden away, judging from its location and how it is hidden, the police suspected that there had to be something going on inside of it.
6. Secret Stash
The police made their way down the small flight of steps and found themselves into a treasure trove of illegal goodies. The seemingly normal suburban family had been hiding marijuana plants beneath their baby’s bed. Dozens of pot plants hung from the ceiling, chemicals and other materials used to grow the weed.
7. Not a Bad Haul
After the search, the police had recovered a total of thirty-one pounds of pot from the underground space. It is worth about $108,000.
8. The Neighbors
Yamile Gongar, 38, and her boyfriend Luis Gonzalez, 41, lived just down the street from 12485. They had two girls, aged 8 and 17, and they were what anyone would consider a modern family. And just like the people at 12485, they were hiding a tiny little secret.
9. Second House
The Gonzalez’s lived just down the street, at 21964 Southwest 125th Ave. The police had received another tip that this family, who lived only houses away, was also hiding something beneath their property.
10. Backyard Find
They couldn’t find anything in the home itself, so the police began looking around the property. They discovered that the couple had an unused pool in their backyard that was covered up with dirt and grass.
11. Similar Setup
Eventually, the police found their way to a backyard shed, within which was the entrance to an underground lab beneath the faux pool. However, this one was much more equipped for a large scale operation than the house at 12485. The room was completely full of pot plants and that wasn’t the worst of it.
12. Electrical Mishap
In addition to the hundreds of pounds of pot being grown in their underground garden, the couple had installed an illegal electricity setup. They also had a strong mix of chemicals stacked in the corner, chemicals that could easily have ignited if they were mishandled or if the illegal electricity malfunctioned.
13. Dirty Diggers
Later, it was found out that the couple had hired a backhoe to come into their backyard and dig out a “pool.” Once that had been done, they put the in-ground pool shell in upside down. Then they covered it with dirt and grass, leaving plenty of room underneath for their hydroponic pot operation.
The elaborate setup included plants hung from walls and a power setup that plugged directly into the home’s power box. This tunnel had been built directly under the backyard and house.
15. No Clue
Neighbors told the news station and the police that they had no clue that such grow houses had been operating just next door to them. The cops were unconvinced by this statement.
16. Obvious Signs
“That is a telltale sign,” Miami-Dade Police spokesman Roy Rutland said. “In this case, we’re confident that somebody would have seen them dig that large hole for a pool but never, in fact, install a pool.” In any case, the hydroponic operation at the Gonzalez’s, was an impressive and a large one.
17. Lots o’ Pots
After the raiding of the expansive underground hydroponic operation, the police ended up with nearly 30 pot plants, amounting to a whopping 70 pounds of marijuana. It was worth about $250,000. In total, cops hauled in 100 pounds of pot worth more than $350,000.
18. Being Held
The Gonzalez’s children were taken to live with relatives and each of the suspects were held in lieu of a $25,000 bond. Afterwards, the police made a statement to their neighbors on Southwest 220 St. about the lack of cooperation prior to the finds.
19. Stinky Coincidence
According to police, the two nearby grow labs were not actually connected at all. Though there are some who believe that the place is related to two other pot labs that have been busted in the area, there is no proof.
20. Largest Yet
The architecture of both labs seem similar and it appears that the same person has built and constructed these laboratories. The latest grow house was discovered at 583 Southeast 1st Street in Hialeah and was the biggest bust yet. Police found more than 100 pounds of pot worth about $400,000.