(Jamaica Observer) A high-tech hydroponic ganja farm was yesterday discovered inside a rented house belonging to the Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU) on Old Stony Hill Road in St Andrew. Three men were arrested during the raid.
Police swooped down on the seven-bedroom house at about 11:00 am yesterday after receiving tips that illegal activities were being carried out there. However, what they found has left them stunned.
“This is the first time we are seeing this in the island. So, far it is a method normally seen in overseas area such as California and other jurisdictions,” Inspector David White of the St Andrew North Police told the Jamaica Observer.
Inspector White was referring to the high-tech process used to grow the weed and how the house was retrofitted to accommodate the farm.
Among the equipment seized were large 1,000-watt bulbs — consuming far more electricity than those at the National Stadium — which were used to provide lighting and heat for the plants on a 24-hour basis.
There was no furniture in the house. Fans were seen. Pieces of cardboard were used to close openings, and wires were seen everywhere. Yesterday, representatives of the Jamaica Public Service, who accompanied the police on the operation, confirmed that illegally abstracted electricity was used to power the equipment.
Meanwhile, the police said the criminals occupied the house for over a year, paying rent of $130,000 per month.
Yesterday, general secretary of the JBU, Karl Johnson, told the Observer that the property had been rented to a “business”, but he did not identify the establishment. He said he was shocked by the development.
Residents in the community were equally shocked.
“This is the first time something like this is happening into the community and it has left us really disappointed,” said a resident, who was watching the large group of police personnel searching the property.
Meanwhile, in another operation in Olympic Gardens, also in St Andrew, police seized a total of 768 energy drink tins that they believe were to be used to export marijuana.