Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd: Large scale pot operation busted, nine arrested

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - Polk County deputies have broken up what is described as a "large scale marijuana drug cultivation and drug trafficking organization."

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd held a news conference on Tuesday.  (Watch video above)

"Because of tips from the community, we were able to take down this operation," Judd said. 

Nine members of what investigators call the Hernandez Drug Trafficking Organization were arrested, according to a sheriff's statement.

96 pounds of marijuana was seized along with 70 marijuana plants, cultivation equipment, cash and vehicles.

Judd said, "A majority of the buds were heading to the northeast.  Some of them were also taken into the Miami area."

Investigators say they recently became aware of 41-year-old Nelson Hernandez of Lake Wales.

He was put under surveillance and was tracked to a home West Palm Beach. This led to the seizure of $17,000 in cash found in Hernandez' vehicle, according to the statement.

Detectives learned that Hernandez was worried about being caught and began dismantling his grow houses.

"Surveillance followed Hernandez to 214 Limpkin Lane, Frostproof, Florida. Surveillance observed him removing several large containers, boxes, and large duffle bags, and taking them into the residence," acording to the statement.

Detectives also learned that Hernandez paid someone $10,000 to keep the items at the residence.

Warrants were ultimately executed at six residences.

Judd said Hernandez was stealing electricity to power his operation. 

His two children have been taken into DCF custody.

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