FORT PIERCE — A man authorities said “built out” marijuana grow house interiors was convicted Wednesday afternoon of conspiracy, trafficking in marijuana and racketeering.
Dennis Enrique Rondon, 32, of Port St. Lucie, is the first of about a dozen defendants connected to Global Home Builders Inc., a construction company authorities allege was a cover for a marijuana growing operation, to be tried and convicted.
On Nov. 27, 2007, the father-and-son Global Home owners, Roberto Alberto Cepero, 46, of Port St. Lucie, and Roberto Patricio Cepero, 24, of Miami, as well as Rondon and 18 other people, were arrested in raids yielding 10 marijuana grow houses and more than 400 pounds of marijuana.
Rondon was charged with conspiracy to traffic in marijuana and trafficking in more than 25 pounds of marijuana. On Dec. 12, 2007, a racketeering charge was added.
He equipped houses for growing marijuana; and during the trial that started April 1, jurors were shown light fixtures, wiring and electrical panels taken from seven of the grow houses, as well as numerous marijuana plants ranging in size from about a foot to about 6 feet tall.
“In all, there were more than 100 pieces of evidence,” said Assistant State Attorney Daryl Isenhower, “including over 100 pounds of marijuana, some of it still growing and some of it hung up and drying.”
Jurors deliberated about four hours before reaching the guilty verdict.
Rondon faces at least three years in prison, the mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking, and up to 90 years — 30 for each of the three first-degree felonies. Circuit Judge Larry Schack has scheduled a May 1 status hearing on the case.
By Tyler Treadway, TCPalm.com