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Grow house operator in jail; no bond

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- While cleaning out 89 marijuana plants, rooms full of agricultural equipment and pound after pound of the drug from a grow house Wednesday, authorities put an Albany man in Dougherty County Jail.

Raymond Victor Fajardo, 33, of 3404 Forest Ridge Drive was booked in at 4:30 a.m. Thursday on charges of manufacturing marijuana, trafficking marijuana and possession and use of drug related material, a jail spokeswoman said. He has no bond set, she added.

Authorities believe Fajardo sold his product out of the area and was a sole operator of the grow house.

"Elaborate" was the word Albany Dougherty Drug Unit Maj. Bill Berry used to describe the set up for growing marijuana in the house.

The house had insulated rooms, an irrigation system, temperature controls, high intensity grow lights and transformers to feed them, Berry said.

"We loaded all that up into trailers to take back to storage and the office," Berry said at about 8:15 a.m. Thursday. He was at the crime scene since 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"We also confiscated, it looks like a 28-foot boat, five guns, one handgun and four shotguns or rifles, the trailer portion of an 18-wheeler and more (grow-house) equipment at a storage unit in Lee County."

Marijuana was processed or dried in a room not used to grow it, Berry said, the dining room. He had said earlier that there was at least 12 pounds of processed marijuana on the kitchen table and that there were bags and bags of it in the house.

Berry said he didn't have a weight on the marijuana stuffed into trash bags.

The raid included but wasn't limited to the Drug Unit, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and SWAT from the Albany Police Department.

The multi-agency raid pleased about a dozen neighbors when it went off without a hitch Wednesday. To hear neighbors tell it the entire Woodbridge area despised Fajardo.

He had put up chain-link fencing that was not allowed by the covenant rules of the well-tended landscaped, affluent neighborhood. That led to the neighbors complaining to the Albany City Commission.

The two sides fought about various types of fencing before the commissioners.

"At least (arrest) will put an end to the fence issue," said one neighbor who didn't want his name published.

Also not wanting their names published a couple of neighbor women said they had been afraid to go outdoors after Fajardo moved into the neighborhood about four years ago.

It didn't help that Fajardo would train his German shepherds as attack dogs, said neighbor Larry McLeod.

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