Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: As drug deaths mount, new law stalls tighter state regulation

TALLAHASSEE — In their zeal to slow down government regulations, Florida lawmakers have inadvertently halted an effort to regulate so-called "pill mills" that fuel an epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
The rules were set to take effect Sunday for most pain clinics. But they have been stalled by a new law intended to crack down on expensive state regulations. The law requires legislative approval of rules that have a significant fiscal impact on commerce.
That means the drug regulations could be in limbo until next spring when the 2011 legislative session convenes, according to state health officials.
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Marchman Act Blog: Second-Hand Smoke Damages Hearing

Exposure to tobacco smoke leads to hearing loss, even in nonsmokers, according to a Nov. 16 BBC News report. In a recent study by University of Miami and Florida International University investigators, 3,307 nonsmokers (both former smokers and those who never smoked) underwent hearing tests and blood screens for cotinine, a metabolite produced by the body in response to nicotine.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Rio police, troops claim victory after invading drug gang stronghold

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio police backed by helicopters and armored vehicles invaded a shantytown complex long held by traffickers on Sunday, quickly taking over the key drug gang stronghold, a top official said.

Black-clad officers from elite police units entered the Alemao slum complex amid heavy fire, with TV images showing police and army helicopters flying low to support the men on the ground as hundreds of drug gang members tried to hold their position.

But the officers encountered less resistance than expected and claimed victory, saying police were controlling the shantytown complex although many gang members still remained inside.
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Marchman Act Blog: Mexican Drug Tunnel Exploration

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Alcoholic Whipped Cream Causes Buzz On Campus

The federal government ordered the makers of Four Loko to change its dangerous combination of caffeine and alcohol to something safer. However, it's not just beverages getting the controversial boost, its whipped cream too.It might look like a regular can of whipped cream, but if you take a closer look at the label, you'll see why some university students are really buzzing about whipped lightning."I think it's awesome, you can throw it on some Jell-O shots. It'd be fantastic," UCF student Bo Frisby said.The whipped treat comes in different flavors, and it's infused with alcohol. The alcohol content is fairly high, 18 percent by volume, that's more than three times the amount found in most beers.Liquor stores around the UCF area said the new form of booze is flying off the shelves."I'm not surprised, it's college. I'm not surprised at all actually. I'm actually shocked they didn't come up with it sooner," UCF student John Washington said.But critics said it might not be the best idea."I mean if people already get high off whipped cream bottles, you put alcohol into that mix, it's not exactly a good combination," UCF student Lisette Diaz said.
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Marchman Act Blog: Sophisticated drug tunnel found in San Diego

Bales of marijuana are examined by officials in Murrieta, Calif., after busting a cross-border tunnel between Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Associated Press)
SAN DIEGO (AP) - U.S. authorities on Thursday found a sophisticated tunnel used to smuggle drugs between Mexico and San Diego, the second such discovery in the region in less than a month.
The half-mile passage runs from a residence in Tijuana to a warehouse in San Diego's Otay Mesa area, the San Diego Tunnel Task Force said in a statement.
Federal border patrol, drug enforcement, immigration, and customs enforcement agents in the task force arrested several suspects and seized an undetermined amount of marijuana in a tractor-trailer on U.S. soil, the statement said.
The statement said authorities believed more marijuana was being stored inside the tunnel. Agents were working with the Mexican military on the investigation.
Officials said they will release further details of the probe Friday afternoon.
Earlier this month, federal agents made one of the largest marijuana seizures in the United States when they confiscated 20 tons of marijuana they said was smuggled into the country through another tunnel connecting warehouses on either side of California's border with Mexico. Mexican authorities seized more than four tons of pot from the warehouse south of the border.
The secret passageway ran the length of six football fields and had lighting, ventilation and a rail system to send loads of illegal drugs from Mexico into California.

Marchman Act Blog: Willie Nelson arrested on pot charges

SIERRA BLANCA, Texas -- A U.S. Border Patrol spokesman says country singer Willie Nelson was charged with marijuana possession after 6 ounces was found aboard his tour bus in Texas.

Patrol spokesman Bill Brooks says the bus pulled into the Sierra Blanca, Texas, checkpoint about 9 a.m. Friday.

Brooks says an officer smelled pot when a door was opened and a search turned up marijuana.

Brooks says the Hudspeth County sheriff was contacted and Nelson was among three people arrested.

Sheriff Arvin West didn't immediately return a phone message left at his home Friday, but he told the El Paso Times that Nelson claimed the marijuana was his.

The singer was held briefly a $2,500 bond before being released.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Overdoses: PBSO pushing for new law to reduce fear of calling 911 during an overdose - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

The Sheriff's Office has heard this story all too often:

People are out at a party with the "three-legged stool of death" — cocaine, prescription drugs and alcohol. Someone overdoses. Witnesses, too afraid to call 911, do what they've seen in movies: stick the person in a shower or let him sleep it off.

By morning, the person is dead.

"Fear of law enforcement is the main reason people don't call 911," Palm Beach County Sheriff's Detective Gary Martin said. "What we're hoping to do is organize a public-awareness campaign. In an overdose situation, don't concern yourself about getting arrested."
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Marchman Act Blog: DEA legal weed ban: South Florida authorities applaud DEA nationwide ban of 'legal weed'

Federal officials will impose a nationwide emergency ban of "legal weed" next month in response to an alarming rise in reported abuse of the herbal blends, the DEA announced Wednesday.

The ban, to begin in 30 days or more, will make it illegal for at least a year to sell or possess products containing five chemicals found in the so-called "fake pot," which is sold as incense at convenience stores and specialty shops.

The temporary ban gives federal authorities time to study synthetic marijuana and decide whether to enact a permanent ban, the DEA said. Synthetic marijuana will be labeled a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin, marijuana and ecstasy.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: FDA Recommends Pulling Propoxyphene Products, Darvon and Darvocet

One of the makers of pain medications Darvon and Darvocet will stop marketing the drugs after new studies showed they can create abnormal heart rhythms even at normal doses, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 20.

Propoxyphene is the active ingredient in Darvon, which was first marketed in 1957. Darvocet contains propoxyphene and acetaminophen. Both were developed by Eli Lilly & Company, which no longer makes either drug. Currently, generic drugs companies, such as Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals and Qualitest/Vintage Pharmaceuticals, produce them instead.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Boston Marathon: Once homeless Orlando man tries to qualify for Boston Marathon

The sun is not yet up when Steve White arrives at the Howard Middle School track near downtown Orlando. He has just put in 12 hours on the graveyard shift for a linen service, but before he sleeps he must train. Soon the 43-year-old is running half-mile repeats like clockwork, a chiseled, solitary figure in the dawn.

His first marathon is a week away, and White is determined to run fast enough to qualify for the most prestigious road race in the nation: the Boston Marathon.

For any runner, making it to Boston is an accomplishment worthy of lifelong bragging rights. For Steve White, it would be a Cinderella story.
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Marchman Act Blog: NIH Director Outlines Reorganization Plan for 'Substance Use, Abuse, and Addiction' Research

The director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that a proposal to reorganize the federal government's major research agencies on substance abuse and addictions into a single entity "makes scientific sense," and has outlined a planning process to create a new Institute for "substance use, abuse, and addiction research and related public health initiatives."
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Marchman Act Blog: Nicole Brochu: Digital drugs: Is your child getting high on the Internet?

Just say no … to your iPod?

That's what all the hullabaloo over a new "craze" among high-seeking young people suggests — that anyone with an MP3 player, a decent set of headphones and a computer can experience a downloadable high that packs the wallop of marijuana, cocaine, opium and peyote.

It's called i-Dosing, or digital drugs, and according to a number of websites and media outlets — including our own WPBF Channel 12 in West Palm Beach — it's all the rage, especially among teenagers experimenting with ways to achieve an altered state of mind. And if it's legal, and accessible, and i-Dosing is both, all the better.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: NAPLES — Collier County fighting pill mills

— The idea is to take action before pain clinics spring up in Collier County that are really pill mills for prescription drug abusers.
The top spots in the state for pill mills are Broward County and the Tampa Bay area, according to Anne Frazier, executive director of Drug Free Collier.
“We are sitting like little ducks in the middle,” she said. “We want to look out for Collier County. We want to look out for our kids.”
The drug-free coalition held a community education forum this past week for a conversation about prescription drug abuse. Sheriff Kevin Rambosk also asked the Collier County Commission to have its attorneys start working on a local ordinance to help regulate pain management clinics.
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Marchman Act Blog: Prescription drug addiction fueled by doctors' efforts to treat pain

Marchman Act Blog: Smoking and your looks

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Energy drinks: gateways to alcohol abuse?

With news that the FDA has sent warning letters to four companies that make drinks combining caffeine and alcohol, including the infamous Four Loko, a study about alcohol-free energy drinks just published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research came out at just the right time to get oodles of attention.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, looked at drinking habits of more than 1,000 fourth-year college students gleaned from face-to-face interviews and reported that:
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Hearing loss linked to passive smoking

People who are exposed to the second-hand smoke from others' cigarettes are at increased risk of hearing loss, experts believe.
Doctors already know that people who smoke can damage their hearing.
The latest study in the journal Tobacco Control, involving more than 3,000 US adults, suggests the same is true of passive smoking.
Experts believe tobacco smoke may disrupt blood flow in the small vessels of the ear.
This could starve the organ of oxygen and lead to a build up of toxic waste, causing damage.
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Marchman Act Blog from "Across the Pond": Understanding Addiction BBC Series - Smoking

Tobacco is a highly addictive substance - find out how to quit smoking and the withdrawal symptoms you can expect. Dr Radha Modgil, of BBC Three's Make My Body Younger, provides practical advice on what helps and hinders stopping smoking.

Marchman Act Blog from "Across the Pond": Understanding Addiction BBC Series - Drugs

As part of the 'Make My Body Younger' series Dr John Crosby looked at drug use

Marchman Act Blog from "Across the Pond": Understanding Addiction BBC Series - Alcohol

Do you feel that you need to cut down your drinking? Perhaps you feel that alcohol is playing an increasing role in your life? Learn methods of managing your alcohol intake and find out how to get help if you need it.

Marchman Act Blog: Ariz. Legalizes Medical Marijuana After All

A measure to legalize medical marijuana in Arizona passed after trailing in the polls throughout almost two weeks of vote-counting, The Arizona Republic reported Nov. 13.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, or Proposition 203, passed by 4,341 votes out of 1.67 million counted; provisional ballots, cast by voters whose eligibility had to be verified, turned the tide. Arizona is now the 15th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana, although the federal government has not approved its use.
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Marchman Act Blog: Kenya fights fake medicine trade

Marchman Act Blog: A housewife takes on Mexican drug cartels

Marchman Act Blog: So long to caffeinated alcoholic beverages? FDA will ban them, one senator says

Caffeinated alcoholic drinks that have been making college kids sick on campuses in several states may not be around much longer -- if news report of their proposed demise are correct.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has supported such a ban, reports Tuesday on his website that the Food and Drug Administration plans to ban caffeinated alcoholic drinks like Four Loko and Joose as an "unsafe food additive to alcoholic beverages."

The statement also says the Federal Trade Commission will tell manufacturers that selling these unsafe alcoholic drinks is illegal. Check out Schumer's entire statement here.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Drug addiction rise Afghanistan

Marchman Act Blog: Mexican drug war refugees flee for life

Marchman Act Blog: Rural Teens More Likely to Abuse Prescription Drugs

A study of national data suggests that teens in rural areas abuse prescription drugs at significantly higher rates than their urban and suburban counterparts, MedPage Today reported Nov. 1.

Researchers led by Jennifer Havens, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., analyzed self-report data on 17,872 teens aged 12-17, collected in the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Durban street drug sweeps township

Marchman Act Blog: Alzheimer's Risk Surges with Heavy Midlife Smoking

Heavy smoking in midlife increases an individual's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by more than 157 percent, according to a new study sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. Researchers suspect the link could be explained by the increased inflammation that is present both in smokers and in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, USA Today reported Oct. 25.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Sex, drugs more common in hyper-texting teens

ATLANTA (AP) - Teens who text 120 times a day or more - and there seems to be a lot of them - are more likely to have had sex or used alcohol and drugs than kids who don't send as many messages, according to provocative new research.
The study's authors aren't suggesting that "hyper-texting" leads to sex, drinking or drugs, but say it's startling to see an apparent link between excessive messaging and that kind of risky behavior.
The study concludes that a significant number of teens are very susceptible to peer pressure and also have permissive or absent parents, said Dr. Scott Frank, the study's lead author.
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Marchman Act Blog: Lindsey admits she is an addict

Marchman Act Blog: High Density of Alcohol Retailers Linked to Bingeing, Harms

A study conducted in New Zealand has found that a resident's risk of binge drinking and alcohol-related harms increases with each alcohol-selling outlet located within convenient walking distance of home, the University of Otago reported Oct. 1.

University researchers surveyed 1,925 adults in 2007 on their alcohol use and then compared the results with mapping of all outlets where alcohol is sold, such as supermarkets and convenience stores. Jennie Connor, Ph.D., of the university's Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, reported that for every take-home ("off-license") alcohol outlet within 1 kilometer, a person’s risk for binge drinking increased by about 4 percent.
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Marchman Act Blog Local News: Pain management clinics: Orange County leaders will discuss an ordinance targeting pill mills today

Orange County leaders will meet today to discuss the area's prescription drug abuse problem and an ordinance that would target pain-management clinics.

Officials say many pain clinics are nothing but fronts for "pill mills," where doctors are willing to dole out powerful, addictive prescription drugs to people for cash.

Lax state laws and an abundance of pain-management clinics have made Florida a destination for drug abusers and traffickers. Many local governments are taking measures to target pill mills, ranging from limiting the hours pain clinics can operate to tracking who works there.
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Marchman Act Blog Local News: Pharmacy robbed west of Boynton Beach

Authorities are searching for two men who held up a pharmacy west of Boynton Beach on Friday and forced employees to hand over money and pills.

Surveillance video shows the pair inside Chemists N Druggists Pharmacy at 3599 W. Woolbright Road, just after 5 p.m., according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. One of the men was armed with a black semi-automatic gun.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Anthony Genovese stripper pole Dad arrested

He had a stripper pole in his living room, marijuana in an ashtray and liquor bottles in his teenage daughters' room, and the overall effect prompted his arrest on Friday on a charge of child neglect, authorities said.

Anthony Genovese, 41, of suburban Lantana, was taken into custody after Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies were called to his house on Ocala Road, near Lawrence and Lantana roads about 9:40 a.m.
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Police identify man who died after shooting, crash near Georgia Pig in central Broward

A man who died Friday after a violent clash with officers in central Broward was identified Saturday as a 37-year-old who was already under the investigative eye of law enforcement.

Hugh Barrington Smith, whose latest address was unknown, died Friday afternoon after the confrontation in unincorporated Broward off U.S. 441.

Smith was under investigation at the time by a task force from the Broward Sheriff's Office and the city police departments of Fort Lauderdale and Miramar, BSO revealed Saturday.

Other details emerged as well about the deadly confrontation. BSO reported that Smith had a "lengthy, violent" criminal history and was carrying a large stash of narcotics and $46,000 in cash in his Honda when he died.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Grow House Video - Miami

SOUTH MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Miami-Dade Police are calling a grow house they took down Thursday night one of the biggest their department has ever encountered.
Police said they may have taken nearly $1.5 million of marijuana off the streets from an operation that included everything from small plants to mature plants. One refrigerator inside the residence had an estimated $400,000 worth of pot ready to be distributed.
Authorities took one person into custody.

See Video: Grow House Video - Miami

Marchman Act Blog: No gasoline, no farm aid, stolen checks: Drug cartels disrupt basic services in Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Five Pemex workers went to their jobs at a government-owned gas compression plant near the Texas border six months ago and never returned. Masked men, apparently members of a drug cartel operating there, had warned employees of Petroleos Mexicanos that they were no longer allowed to enter the area.

Around the same time in May, three inspectors for the Mexican Environment Department headed into the wooded mountains west of Mexico City to investigate a pollution complaint. Their tortured bodies were found the next day. Authorities said they stumbled onto a drug lab.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: David Cassidy: Partridge Family star charged with DUI in St. Lucie County

David Cassidy, a star of "The Patridge Family" TV series in the 1970s, was arrested Wednesday night after a trooper spotted his car moving erratically on Florida's Turnpike in St. Lucie County, according to an arrest report.
Cassidy, 60, was arrested after the 8:30 p.m. traffic stop, when his blood-alcohol level tested above Florida's legal limit. The trooper found a half-empty bottle of bourbon inside the singer/actor's white, 2008 Mercedes-Benz, according to the report.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Agents shut down Mexican Drug tunnel

Marchman Act Blog: Defeat of Calif. Legalization Initiative Highlights Poor Results for Marijuana Advocates

The much-watched California ballot initiative that would have legalized recreational use of marijuana and allowed local governments to regulate sales of the drug went down to defeat on Election Day, punctuating a day that also saw rejection of marijuana-related ballot items in a handful of other states.

The New York Times reported Nov. 3 that disappointed backers of Proposition 19 vowed to continue their effort to see marijuana treated by law like alcohol and tobacco rather than heroin and cocaine. Voters appeared to reject the argument that legalization would reduce drug-related crime, and instead reflected the concern that making marijuana more widely available would increase use and associated social problems.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Mexico's Drug War - 3 more U.S. citizens killed

(CNN) -- Three Americans died in weekend violence in the area of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a U.S. official said.
"Two citizens were fatally shot early Sunday close to the Zaragoza international bridge," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Monday. "In a separate incident, another U.S. citizen was fatally wounded in Ciudad Juarez itself."
Violence is rife in the area, as the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels battle for control of lucrative smuggling routes into the United States, where demand for illegal drugs is strong.
The circumstances of the Americans' deaths weren't immediately clear.
"First, we offer our condolences to the families of the victims," Crowley said. "We have been in touch with those families and are providing all possible assistance."
Crowley added, "We will support the Mexican government in the investigation that is already under way."

Marchman Act Blog: Pain clinic law: New law shuts some pain clinics, creates difficulties for some patients

Florida's month-old pain clinic law has succeeded in driving some pill mills out of business, but has also created complications for some doctors and pain-stricken patients.

Police, state officials, patients and pain clinic operators agree that the law has made a dent in Florida's heavy trade in prescription narcotic drugs. Unscrupulous pill mills among the state's estimated 1,000 pain clinics are major East Coast suppliers of addictive narcotics. Broward and Palm Beach counties have the most, with 275 clinics combined.
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Marchman Act Blog: Alcohol Ranked Most Harmful Drug - Update

A group of British scientific experts has concluded that when combining its effects on the individual and on society, alcohol far outpaces other substances as the most harmful drug, the Associated Press reported Nov. 1.
The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, meeting via an interactive workshop, used multicriteria decision analysis to evaluate drugs' effects on the body and their impacts on society, including effects on families and on costs in areas such as health care and corrections. Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine were ranked in the analysis as the most lethal drugs to the individual, but alcohol, heroin and crack were judged most harmful to others.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Study Shows - Alcohol more dangerous than heroin or crack

Alcohol is a more dangerous drug than heroin or crack cocaine, a study claims.

Scientists have found that alcohol is the most harmful drug overall and three times as harmful as cocaine and tobacco, according to a new scale of drug harm that rates the damage to both users and to wider society.

Ecstasy is only an eighth as harmful as alcohol, according to the new analysis, led by the controversial sacked government drugs adviser David Nutt with colleagues from the breakaway Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs.  The study says that if drugs were classified on the basis of the harm they do, alcohol would be class A, alongside heroin and crack cocaine.
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Marchman Act Blog: Comic lights up on Bill Maher Show

Marchman Act Blog: Marijuana Grow House Clermont: Marijuana plants discovered in Clermont house

Lake County Sheriff's deputies were responding to a burglary call when they discovered a marijuana-growing operation inside a Clermont home Sunday morning, officials said. Sheriff's Spokesperson Sgt. Jim Vachon said deputies found a burglarized home about 6:30 a.m. and later discovered "well established" cannabis cultivation.

Vachon said 20 mature marijuana plants—some taller than 6 feet—were found inside two bedrooms at 1719 Morningstar Drive in Clermont. Detectives said the operation had a full size air-conditioning unit, ideal lighting for growing and a ventilation system. Electrical power to the home was being diverted before reaching the meter, Vachon said. No one was at the home when deputies arrived. No suspects have been identified, he said.