ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Law enforcement lined a stretch of Forest Ridge Drive Wednesday night as neighbors learned Raymond Fajardo is accused of operating a grow house on their street at 3404 Forest Ridge Drive. Inside the home agents found 89 marijuana plants and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth in elaborate equipment.
"We were suspicious," said neighbor Larry McLeod. "He kept the blinds closed all the time. He would burn trash in a barrel in his backyard. That's not normal in the city. He wouldn't talk to you," he added.
Back in February, angry neighbors went to the city over a large fence Fajardo put up in his yard. This, along with other suspicious activity, led to surveillance on the home which agents raided around 5:30 Wednesday afternoon.
"Prior to the execution of the search warrant, Raymond Victor Fajardo was arrested and then the Albany SWAT team came in and searched the house and cleared for agents to go in process the house,"
SWAT and HAZMAT crews were called in because agents feared the house might have been booby trapped.
Once agents got inside, what they found was an elaborate and well designed grow house. They say the living room was the only "livable room." Every other room was devoted to growing. He had two grow rooms with high-tech lights and ventilation, a dry room, and bags and bags of ready-to-sell pot.
"There's irrigation systems, lighting systems, and ventilation systems. Basically the entire house is a grow house," said ADDU Commander Maj. Bill Berry.
Agents say they aren't sure how long the operation had been going on, but even veteran drug officers say they've never seen anything like it.
"I started my 36th year in law enforcement today. I've never seen an operation this elaborate. I've seen them bigger. This is extremely thought out, used, and set up," said Berry.
Investigators searched storage units Fajardo owns in Lee and Dougherty Counties early Thursday morning where they found weapons, lights, and more growing equipment. Some agents were on the scene for more than 24 hours.