Police Uncover 'Elaborate' Marijuana-Growing Operation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Authorities allegedly found an ``elaborate'' marijuana-growing operation at a southern New Jersey home after they went there as part of a credit-card fraud investigation.

    The Press of Atlantic City
    reports police found 87 marijuana plants in the basement of the Hamilton Township home on Friday. They also seized stolen merchandise valued $15,000, items believed to be the proceeds from a fraudulent credit card operation.

    Authorities also found credit card manufacturing equipment at the home, which the couple was renting.

    Luis Alba, 26, was charged with cultivation of marijuana, as well as possessing and distributing the drug. His 23-year-old girlfriend, Miluska Jimenez-Espinoza, was charged with credit card fraud.

    Authorities also removed a 3-year-old from the home and placed the child with a family member. Animal control officials also removed a pet pig and two dogs from the residence.

    Alba's bail was set at $100,000 cash, while Jimenez-Espinoza was released on a summons. Telephone numbers for both suspects could not be found Sunday.

    The pair also are accused of stealing electricity from Atlantic City Electric lines. Officials estimated that more than $7,000 of electric service was stolen from the utility in order to facilitate the marijuana growing operation inside the home, the newspaper reported.