May 12, 2014 9:55 PM by Marissa Esquivel
PINAL COUNTY - A tip led Pinal County Sheriff's investigators to a massive marijuana grow operation in the retirement community of Saddlebrook last month.
A search warrant for a house in Saddlebrook was executed on April 30, after the Pinal County Sherriff's Narcotic Task Force department got a tip about high grade marijuana being grown.
The tip that came in gave information on Stephen Cartwright, stating he had a massive high grade marijuana growing operation and that he was selling hydroponic marijuana from his house.
After serving the search warrant investigators found a highly sophisticated Marijuana growing operation which included 97 hydroponic and soiled based marijuana plants. Detectives also located 64.2 pounds of packaged marijuana ready for sale, psychedelic mushrooms and drug paraphernalia.
The 97 marijuana plants were in various stages of growth. An average six foot tall plant can produce approximately one pound of usable marijuana. These plants have a street value of $2,000 each.
Cartwright was arrested and booked into the Pinal County Jail in Florence, and faces charges of Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana for Sale, Cultivation of Marijuana, Possession of Dangerous Drugs, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, "Arizona voters passed the law which allows individuals with a doctor's approval to purchase or grow marijuana to treat certain medical conditions. Stephen Cartwright used his medical marijuana card to grow marijuana and then sell it for profit. Stephen is not the first individual we have arrested using their medical marijuana card to conduct illegal marijuana offenses. This case shows how difficult enforcement has become with medical marijuana."