Willie Gary's son arrested for growing pot

By John Bachman - bio | email

HOBE SOUND, FL (WFLX) - Martin County Sheriff's deputies arrested two men, including the son of well-know attorney Willie Gary. Deputies have charged Kobie Gary and Steven Shepherd with cultivation of cannabis and possession of marijuana more than 20 grams.

Neighbors say they were shocked to learn about detectives had busted a grow house on their street. Mulberry Drive is the kind of place where everyone knows each other and neighbors talk about their day over a beer after work.

But there are always exceptions. "It's incredible, never would have suspected something like that was going on 20 feet from my bedroom," said next door neighbor Alex Stanford.

Stanford said never noticed anything suspicious until Tuesday.

Martin County Sheriff's detectives say the bust was part of an investigation that started back in April. They say an informant tipped them off that Gary and Shepherd were using the house to illegally cultivate the lucrative cash crop.

Detectives say this operation differs from most they've seen because the plants were grown from seeds and not cloned plants. Inside, they found pot plants in all stages of growth from "newly sprouted" to "ready to harvest". Deputies estimate the value at about $100,000.

The growers also used and extensive ventilation system to hide the strong smell of the plants, but it didn't work. "We kind of lost contact with them, and then a neighbor called and complained about odd activity at the house, strange smells coming out of the house," said Sgt John Budensiec, from Martin County Sheriff's Special Investigations Unit.

Investigators say they think Gary and Shepherd had been growing in the house for the last three months.

Then, last week, investigators started around the surveillance on the house. And when Kobie Gary showed up Tuesday, they made the arrests. It was a big surprise for neighbors -- not just knowing there was a grow house on their street, but also seeing who was arrested for running it.

This is not the first time the Gary family has dealt with controversy. Willie Gary was not available for comment Tuesday Night.