Police say an investigation of a credit card fraud scheme led to a marijuana bust in Egg Harbor Township.
In January of 2014, Egg Harbor Township police detectives began to investigate the fraudulent use of counterfeit credit cards. During the investigation, police say they identified Luis Alba of Hamilton Township, as well as his girlfriend, Miluska Jimenez-Espinoza, as the suspects involved. Alba allegedly used different counterfeit credit cards at several businesses throughout Atlantic County.
On Friday, police and SWAT officers executed a search warrant at Alba’s home. Both Alba and Jimenez-Espinoza were arrested without incident.
While searching through the home, police say they discovered a large in-door marijuana grow system, marijuana plants and equipment. Investigators say they then discovered the electricity supplying the area had been tampered with. According to police, over $7,000 worth of electric service was stolen from Atlantic City Electric to facilitate the marijuana grow inside the home.
In all, police say they recovered 87 marijuana plants with a total street value of $175,000. They also say they seized $15,000 worth of stolen merchandise, $2,000 worth of diesel fuel and two vehicles allegedly used during the crimes. Police say the merchandise and fuel were purchased by the counterfeit credit cards.
A 3-year-old child was removed from the home and placed with a family member. Finally two dogs, a German Sheppard and a Chihuahua, were removed from the home by Animal Control Services.
Alba is charged with distribution of marijuana, credit card fraud and other related offenses. He was lodged in the Atlantic County Jail.
Jimenez-Espinoza was charged with credit card fraud and was released on a summons.