Deputies seize pot, weapons

A man is arrested and $500,000 worth of marijuana is found in a Palm Harbor grow house.

By Richard Danielson, Times Staff Writer
Published February 20, 2008

PALM HARBOR - Deputies found more than $500,000 worth of marijuana and arrested a 32-year-old Pasco County man Tuesday after raiding a house near Lake Tarpon.

Timothy Edward Stacy, who lives at 4250 Newgate Drive in Holiday, had converted the two-bedroom house at 85 S Canal Drive into a crude hydroponic growing operation, officials said.

Pinellas County sheriff's deputies began an investigation after getting a tip in January and served a search warrant at the house about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Investigators said they pulled 29 live plants, 131 marijuana root balls and more than 136 pounds of harvested marijuana from the home.

In all, officials said, the drugs had a street value of more than $500,000.

Deputies also seized a pistol, a shotgun, a rifle, two crossbows and a large amount of growing equipment from the house.

Inside, officials said, Stacy had strung up lights to convert two rooms to cultivate marijuana.

Because of the electrical hazard Stacy created with the lights, the Sheriff's Office called Progress Energy to the home to inspect the home's wiring. As a result, the utility disconnected power to the house until its owner can have an electrician repair the damage.

Stacy was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on one count each of manufacturing and trafficking in marijuana and was released after posting $20,000 bail. He did not return a call for comment Tuesday.

The house is a rental property owned by longtime Palm Harbor resident and businessman Charlie Jones.

Jones is "not suspected of any wrongdoing," sheriff's Sgt. Jim Bordner said. "There's no indication he knew what was going on there."

Jones, 83, said he had rented the home to someone else, and sheriff's officials said the original renter left some time ago, but Stacy continued to pay the rent without ever being on the lease.

Investigators likewise have no indication that the original tenant, whose name was not released, was involved in the growing operation, Bordner said.

Jones said Stacy always struck him as a clean-cut young man who delivered the rent on time and loved fishing for bass.

"If I had known anything about it, I would have got him out," Jones said.