Top Five Florida 420 Busts in 2010

Marijuana production is at an all-time high in Florida and so are grow house busts. The local, state, and federal law enforcement weed eradication program has seen a 50 percent spike in the number of grow labs in less than four years. It's easy pickings for Johnny Law when you think about it. Growers are stoners. They concoct hair-brained schemes to build impregnable Kush farms over multiple bowls of Fruit Loops after smoking some Super Lemon Haze. With that in mind, Banana Republican presents the most outlandish pot busts of 2010:

As a former Miami Beach cop facing accusations you unjustly killed two innocent bystanders, setting up a grow house may not be the best way to pay for your criminal defense. On May 24, Miami-Dade police raided Adam Tavss' house in West Kendall where they found a fully operational marijuana grow lab with 47 plants worth about $50,000 on the street. He pled guilty in October and will be on house arrest for the next two years.

Perhaps Mark Weiner was conducting tests on the medicinal properties of cannabis sativa. On June 5, Marion County Sheriff's Office deputies paid a visit to the 46-year-old quadriplegic's Ocala home where they found six marijuana plants growing in one of the rooms. Weiner told the cops he was conducting an experiment and showed them where he had a bong, 40 grams of cultivated weed and more than 50 pot seeds. He was also using his caregivers help tend his crop.

Leiner Hidalgo and Luis Florencio Gonzalez Reyes thought they had built an underground forest to Narnia, where all stoners fight alongside a lion that rises from the dead to slay the evil White Witch. On September 8, Miami-Dade police arrived at their house at 7800 SW 29 St. in Westchester. The Po-Po discovered the ganja cultivators had dug out a basement on the home's east side where they had a 26 plant crop.

​Marijuana growers have good reason to feel like they have no privacy, like someone is watching them, when they only want to be left alone. On September 15, Cape Coral police descended on a suspected grow house at 321 NE 29th St. Deputy Chief Bart Connelly told the Fort Meyers News-Press that a drug dealer had barricaded the front door with furniture. The alleged doper also sent out a distress call via a Facebook status update: "I am going to jail, talk to you later." After bombing the house with tear gas and sending in a robot to scour for booby traps, the cops seized 35 full-grown plants in the garage.

​And then there was the dude in a Chevy SUV who had pulled over on the Palmetto Expressway near the 36th street exit in Doral on September 15. A Florida Road Ranger stopped to offer the driver, who was asleep at the wheel, help. The bleary-eyed fellow couldn't believe his luck. He offered the road ranger a few hundred bucks to drive him and the 100 pounds of marijuana plants in the SUV to a safe place like Narnia. Instead, the roadside helper called Florida Highway Patrol. Dopey took off running.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.