Luis Alba (left) & Miluska Jimenez-Espinoza (right), of Hamilton Twp., NJ
HAMILTON TWP. -
Residents were in disbelief Friday after learning that an elaborate marijuana growing operation was discovered in a small home just off Harding Highway in Hamilton Township.
Egg Harbor Township Detective Captain, Christopher Ruef, told NBC40, "We have seized what we estimate, and what state police estimate, to be about $200,000 worth of marijuana that was being grown in the basement. They had an elaborate system where water flows through the roots and the plants grow better that way. You get stronger plants - the lights and the fans, the whole thing. We've seen similar, but that was pretty elaborate."
Carlton Campbell lives near the bust and explained, "Unbelievable, just unbelievable. I would never expect it in a small house like this."
Egg Harbor Township Police say the discovery was made after they were in the process of executing a search warrant related to a regional fraudulent credit card scheme.
Ruef explained, "We are still seizing property that we believe was bought with the fraudulent credit cards."
Officials also say that they were using the fraudulent cards to steal other items on a large scale. Ruef added, "One of the cases involved a theft of diesel fuel, a large amount of diesel fuel. So that's what our Public Works was here to pick up the stolen diesel fuel. We are going to take everything that they bought with the fraudulent credit cards."
Investigators spent hours at the home, removing high-end electronics and other items which officials believe were bought with the cards.
The suspects, 26-year-old Luis Alba, and 23-year-old Miluska Jimenez Espinoza, both of Hamilton Township, were arrested and are facing a long list of charges.
Authorities say two dogs and several other small pets were also removed from the home.