CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla - A Citrus County man allegedly stole electricity to help him run a marijuana grow house in Crystal River, deputies say.
Juan Mendoza Ruiz de Villa, 40, of North Mandrake Point in Crystal River, is facing trafficking in marijuana, possession of a structure to traffic a controlled substance and grand theft charges.
Deputies say they located two rooms full of marijuana at Mendoza's house Thursday.
An arrest affidavit states that Mendoza claimed the marijuana was for his personal use.
Deputies say when they approached Mendoza on a roadway near his home he said he could not speak English. A U.S. Border Patrol Agent was brought in to interpret in Spanish.
Through the interpreter, Mendoza reportedly consented for deputies to search his home.
Inside, deputies found 58 potted marijuana plants, 25 grow lights with ballasts, two air conditioner air handles, two homemade circuit boards, multiple fans and irrigation systems, an arrest report states.
When deputies checked the electric meter outside the home with workers from the Withlacoochee Electric Company, they say they discovered power to the grow house was diverted around the power meter and that Mendoza was stealing power.
The alleged theft of electricity was estimated to be in excess of $300.
The total weight of the marijuana recovered is 43 pounds and 12 ounces, deputies say. They added that all the plants will be destroyed.
Mendoza was arrested and is being held on $62,000 bond.
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