MARTIN COUNTY RESIDENTS PLEAD GUILTY IN A TWO COUNTY MARIJUANA GROW CONSPIRACY
Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, announced the guilty pleas of Steven Shepherd, 34, David Jeffrey Grant, 26, and Kobie Oronde Gary, 30, all currently of Martin County, Florida. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 1, 2010, before U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore, in Ft. Pierce, FL.
Gary, Grant and Shepherd each pled guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute more than 100 marijuana plants, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 846.
According to a proffer of facts read in open court on January 15, 2010, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) received information that Kobie Gary was funding a marijuana grow house in Stuart, FL. In April 2009, law enforcement observed Scott Gibson a number of times at a Port St. Lucie residence owned by Willie and Gloria Gary. In August, 2009, Gibson was arrested at his residence in Stuart after deputies found jars of marijuana in his house and marijuana plants growing in his garden.
According to court records, detectives subsequently learned that the grow house had moved from Stuart to Hobe Sound. In October, after a tip regarding a strong odor of fresh marijuana in the neighborhood, MCSO set up surveillance of a residence in Hobe Sound. During the surveillance, they observed Scott Gibson and Kobie Gary visiting the Hobe Sound residence several times in two weeks. On October 27, 2009, MCSO detectives executed a state warrant to search the Hobe Sound residence. Gary was detained by his car as he was leaving the residence. Steven Adam Shepherd was arrested inside of the residence.
According to the factual proffer, a subsequent search of the residence led to the discovery of a fully operational marijuana grow house, with marijuana plants growing in each of the four bedrooms. The bedrooms were equipped with an intricate lighting system, consisting of high powered lamps, ballast, and a ventilation system with a carbon filter. A total of 234 marijuana plants (with an intact root system) were seized from the rooms. In addition, the search resulted in the seizure of a UPS box addressed to Kobie Gary’s residence in Jensen Beach, FL, from an online garden center. The box contained an invoice in Kobie Gary’s name for an order of 7 million live beneficial nematodes and 1500 live lady bugs – used to control destructive plant pests. According to UPS tracking, the package arrived at Gary’s residence at approximately 2:27 p.m. on October 27, 2009. In Gary’s vehicle, detectives located a key to the front door of the Hobe Sound property, and a receipt indicating that Gary had been paying the light bill for the Hobe Sound residence.
During a search of one of the grow houses, MCSO detectives found and seized a wallet with David Jeffrey Grant’s Florida driver’s license, which was lying on the coffee table in the living room along with a quantity of loose marijuana. Documents and furniture belonging to Grant were found in the front living area. In one of the larger marijuana grow rooms, agents also located a plastic organizer with multiple documents in the name of David Grant. In addition, a forensic comparison of prints lifted from two tube lights and a Solo cup confirmed Steven Shepherd’s and David Grant’s participation in the marijuana grow house operation.
On November 4, 2009, a federal search warrant was executed at Gary’s residence in Jensen Beach, FL. During this search, agents found the lease to the Hobe Sound house, jars with marijuana residue and numerous receipts for materials commonly used to establish a marijuana grow house operation.
Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the Martin County Sherriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.