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Drug Unit busts elaborate grow house

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- A multi-agency raid on a house in the Woodbridge section of Albany led to an arrest and the neighbors smiling for joy.

Raymond Victor Fajardo was arrested at his 3440 Forest Ridge Drive home at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Albany Dougherty Drug Unit Maj. Bill Berry.

"We have been investigating this marijuana grow house for about two months," Berry said. "This is the most elaborate grow house I have ever seen. There was at least 12 pounds of marijuana on the kitchen table. Almost every room had marijuana plants growing."

Because the raid was in progress Berry said that the full extent of charges against Fajardo could not be released until he was booked into Dougherty County Jail after questioning.

The raid included agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation who were probably going to be in the single-story ranch-style home all night, Berry said. It would probably take that long to catalog all the evidence, he added.

When Berry said the grow house was elaborate, he was speaking of the temperature controls and the way the plants were nourished, arranged and looked after.

"He's got high intensity lights and transformers," Berry said. "There is a privacy fence so you can't see in the windows."

More than 15 neighbors watched the arrest. They were overjoyed to have more than a dozen law enforcement vehicles lining and blocking the street in the evening.

The neighbors had been quarreling legally with Fajardo about a chain link fence and other fencing they said was not allowed by the covenant rules of the well-tended, affluent neighborhood.

"He has been here for about four years," neighbor Larry McLeod said. "We've been fighting him at city council about the fences. He isn't a good neighbor."

Other neighbors, who did not want their names used, said they were afraid to be in their yards because of Fajardo. McLeod said Fajardo trained his German shepherds as attack dogs in his yard.

"He had those sleeves on to protect his arms," McLeod said, "and he would train the dogs to attack."

At about 8 p.m. there were no guns found on the premises, but the investigation had just started, said GBI's Mark Pro, assistant agent in charge.

As procedure in this raid, Berry said the Albany Police Department Swat Team and the Albany Fire Department were on hand in case they were needed.

"We go into a house, we never know what is in there," Berry said. "Sometimes grow houses have trip wires and explosives in them."