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Contraband
02/29/2008

Palm Beach marijuana grow house discovered following ICE, PBSO and USCG investigation

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - One hundred ninety-three marijuana plants weighing approximately 80 lbs were discovered in a Loxahatchee home located at 13887 86th Road North by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents and officers assigned to the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office (PBSO).

The owner of the home, Julio Mallea, 48, was arrested by PBSO officers following the discovery of the marijuana that was being grown in three rooms of his home.

The discovery was made following an incident of suspected human smuggling. On Sunday, at approximately 3:00 a.m., the United States Coast Guard, ICE, and the PBSO's Marine Unit stopped two vessels traveling in the Intra-Coastal waterway near the Phil Foster Park boat ramps.

The first vessel, a 1982 34 ft Coyote with triple outboard motors, was towing the second vessel. Inspections of the vessels revealed forty-one (41) eighteen (18) gallon fuel drums, filled with gasoline, which were stored improperly within the 34 ft Coyote. The vessel was subsequently seized by PBSO. All occupants were questioned and later released.

"Partnerships are essential to our law enforcement mission," said Anthony V. Mangione, special agent-in-charge of ICE in Miami. "This case is a great example of what we can accomplish together."

The investigation into this case continues.