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2 suspects arrested in Homestead drug raid

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By Stacy Lee
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homestead police seized large amounts of marijuana, growing chemicals, equipment, cash and a firearm while executing a search warrant at a duplex along E. Eighth Avenue on Monday night for what they said was a major marijuana growing operation.

"Officers over the last couple of days had detected an odor of marijuana in the area," Homestead police Chief Jeff DeSimone said. "That coupled with some complaints that came in; they looked around."

The chief said officers detected an "overwhelming odor of marijuana" at the duplex when one of the occupants opened the door to officers Monday, then immediately slammed it shut.

"They detained that person," DeSimone said. "They could hear somebody else was upstairs. They called for him to come out, but he refused. He finally did come out after awhile."

Police obtained a search warrant for the second floor of the duplex at 328 E. Eighth Ave.

DeSimone said that, at this early stage of the investigation he can't estimate how much marijuana was in the duplex.

"It looks like it's in various forms," he said. "It looks like it's ready to be distributed or ready to be sold."

Two Pittsburgh men, ages 26 and 31, are in custody.

Charges are pending against both.

"Certainly, for us, this is a large operation," DeSimone said. "They had a pretty sophisticated setup."

He said both of the suspects' vehicles will be seized.

The police chief said the suspects had vents aerating the duplex's second floor.

"That's where the marijuana smell was emanating from," he said.

"I have a good police department," Homestead Mayor Betty Esper said. "They're always on the alert, looking for stuff. This was a big bust for us."

"They did an excellent job," DeSimone said of his officers.

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