Simply Hydroponics is a store located in Largo that caters to those who are growing pesticide free plants. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has utilized the store as a way to initiate investigations against those who shop there. The rationale according to the Sheriff’s office is those who manufacture marijuana shop at hydroponics stores. According to this article in the St. Petersburg Times of the 450 search warrants have been filed in Pinellas County between January 1, 2010 and September 15, 2011, 39 warrants began with surveillance at Simply Hydroponics.
The investigation begins with a surveillance camera located on a pole across the street from the business. Detectives then run tag numbers to determine a name and address. Detectives will engage in spot checks of the residences looking for signs of a grow operation such as the sound of running motors, windows that are blacked out, and obviously the odor of marijuana. Finally, the residences power records are pulled and compared with other residences in the area of comparable size. If the amount of power used is higher than for other homes then that could be a sign of a grow operation. Law enforcement then presents their findings by way a search warrant for a judge’s signature.