Authorities seize pot from Bradenton grow house

MANATEE -- A 33-year-old man was arrested after Manatee County Sheriff’s Office investigators received an anonymous tip that he was operating a marijuana grow house from his home, according to an arrest report.

Deputies seized a total of 39 marijuana plants from William D. Price’s home in the 4400 block of 60th Street West last week. The plants weighed a total of six and half pounds and were found placed under high power grow lamps.

When detectives went to the residence and detected a strong odor of pot coming from the rear portion of the residence in the mother-in-law suite, Price agreed to open a dead-locked portion of the room that was sectioned off.

Price told authorities this was his first attempt to grow marijuana. He said he learned to set up the grow house by going online, and he purchased the equipment from a friend, according to the report.

He planned to yield about three to four pounds of pot from the plants and make about $2,000 to $3,000 per pound, according to authorities.

Price was arrested on a charge of possession of marijuana with intent to sell. He was released from jail after posting a $2,500 bond.

Dave Bristow, spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, said grow house raids were more prevalent in the early 1990s during the Myakka Gold era in which hundreds of plants were discovered in fields.

After a 39-count federal indictment charged 28 people with conspiring to grow and sell marijuana -- many of whom did time in prison -- Bristow said grow operations became more sporadic and much smaller.

Now authorities mostly respond when they receive tips, and small grow operations are often in vacant rental properties acquired specifically for that purpose, Bristow said.