66. VCSO: Pot grow operation discovered after Deltona house fire; occupant arrested

Top 100 Local Stories of 2014 in Central Florida / Headline Surfer®
Francisco Quintana, of Deltona, charged with cultivating more than 20 grams of pot /  Headline Surfer®Pot founf after Deltona house fire / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer® /
Francisco Quintana, 41, was arrested in early December after firefighters putting out a fire Kingway Drive home, found marijuana plants inside.

DELTONA, Fla. -- Deltona firefighters and state fire marshals investigating a Dec. 3 house fire in Deltona discovered a marijuana grow operation inside, and the Volusia County Sheriff's Office arrested the man who lives there.

The 12:45 p.m. fire that Wednesday at 519 W. Kingway Drive in Deltona was first reported around 12:45 p.m., aheavily damaged the home, but after it was extinguished, firefighters and state investigators discovered several marijuana plants and cultivation equipment.

Deputies detained the resident, 40-year-old Francisco "Franky" L. Quintana Jr., 41, and Sheriff's narcotics investigators responded.

"Those investigators found two rooms converted into grow rooms," Sheriff's spokesman Andrew Gant told Headline Surfer®.

The pot growing operation comes in at No. 66 in the HeadlineSurfer.com countdown of the top 100 local stories of 2014.

Pot found after house fire in Deltona / Headline Surfer®Pot found in Deltona home after fire / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer® /
Pot plants, shown here, were tagged and taken from a Deltona home after a fire there was put out by firefighters on early December, leading to the arrest of the occupant, Francisco Quintana, 41, on several drug-related charges.


Among the finds:

• In a master bedroom closet, they found a black fabric tent with a grow light and 18 plants inside -- ranging in size from 2 inches to 12 inches. Also found in the same room were several bottles of chemicals used for growing marijuana.

• Two more black tents were set up in a second bedroom, one used to grow plants (with seven roughly 2-foot-tall plants inside) and the other used to dry harvested marijuana. Also in that room: a bag of marijuana plant clippings, two electrical ballasts and an exhaust fan.

In all, investigators seized about 1,122 grams of cannabis plant buds and clippings, 27 plants in various stages of growth and various pieces of drug paraphernalia - like glass jars containing marijuana and a digital scale.

In all, investigators seized about 1,122 grams of cannabis plant buds and clippings, 27 plants in various stages of growth and various pieces of drug paraphernalia - like glass jars containing marijuana and a digital scale.

Quintana told investigators the marijuana was for personal use. He was charged with manufacturing in cannabis, possession of cannabis over 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia and taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail. He bonded out a short time later.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the State Fire Marshal's Office.


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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.