Updated March 22, 2010.
After obtaining a search warrant, investigators arrested homeowners Elizabeth Moody, 26, and Robert Newton, 32, on charges of cultivation of cannabis and possession of more than 20 grams of the drug.
What I find interesting is that when I first heard about this, being that I have many friends and family living in the neighborhood, I was sure to hear about it in the news. When I first got home, I got on my computer and did a search, but came up with nothing. There was no reports regarding the bust. I then posted my blog mentioning the grow house, waiting for the late night news, to see if there were any developments, but instead, a news report mentioned another grow house bust in Eustis that same day. Granted, the Eustis bust wast twice as large, consisting of 329 plants, lights, irrigation, and other related paraphernalia, but I am surprised that Sand Lake Hills did not even get a shout out after the Eustis story.
I continued to check back with the news and Google, trying every combination of searches until my wife had told me of an ambiguous Orlando Sentinel article on March 20th that sounded like it could be what was going on. After a quick check with the Orange County Property Appraisers record, it confirmed that Moody and Newton's arrest was in fact the same story I had actually broke the day before.
What could possibly keep this story hush hush?
Typically, when you hear about a grow house bust, the property involved is in a rural area, trailer, warehouse, or a neighborhood that is not quite in the best of areas, but Sand Lake Hills is different. A middle class neighborhood, Sand Lake Hills is found in the heart of Dr. Phillips, across the street from famous neighborhood Bay Hill, which is gearing up to host it's famous invitational. A little bit further is Islesworth, home of legendary golfer and recent tabloid staple Tiger Woods, among other celebrities that live in the area. To report about a grow house in a good neighborhood would just be wrong! Imagine that - these types of crimes are not limited to certain areas, and have even infiltrated such a good neighborhood of hard working class citizens.
As a side note, it looks like that $18,000 per year the Sand Lake Hills Homeowners Association, Inc. spends on paying a cop to patrol was money well spent. A few years back, the association was trying to sell speed humps to the neighborhood. In their board meeting minutes, the board had mentioned that they wanted to "sell" the idea onto homeowners by insisting that speed humps would free up security guard and off duty police officer, Perry Chambers, to deal with things other than traffic problems. It looks like officer Chambers did an excellent job! What is even more entertaining is that you could usually find the officer sitting at the entrances of the neighborhood, with Sandberry Boulevard being one of the main roads bisecting the neighborhood.
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