Photo/Story Gallery 2003

A Grow House on Wheels

Black plastic bags containing marijuana sit on the trunk of Trooper Merritt's patrol car.After stopping a vehicle for unlawful window tinting, Trooper Michael Merritt made a strange discovery. Large plastic garbage bags that had a suspicious odor coming from them led the trooper to take a closer look at what was being transported by two men from Miami.

Clear plastic boxes with marijuana plants in them. Pictured left, Black plastic bags containing marijuana sit on the trunk of Trooper Michael Merritt’s patrol car and right, Clear plastic boxes with marijuana plants in them.

On Tuesday, September 30, 2003, Trooper Michael Merritt stopped a vehicle on Interstate 75 in Lee County for excessively dark window tinting. While conducting his traffic stop he noticed the driver was very nervous and acting suspiciously. The trooper obtained a consent to search the vehicle from the owner, who happened to be a passenger, and found several large black garbage bags in the trunk emitting a pungent odor.

Marijuana plants on a shelf prior to processing into evidence. Plants are measured for documentation and evidence.Trooper Merritt found something in the bags he had never seen before, live marijuana plants in clear plastic boxes. There were a total of 252 plants in the four boxes, with a street value of more than $252,000.00.

Pictured left, Marijuana plants on a shelf prior to processing into evidence and right, plants are measured for documentation and evidence.

The subjects were heading to Tennessee but had that trip shortened to one to the Lee County jail, facing multiple felony charges.