Police find hidden grow house across from school

Cockfighting ring, chemicals also found in underground operation

By Andrew Perez - Reporter , Ben Kennedy - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Narcotics investigators said they found a trifecta of crime at a northwest Miami-Dade County home Monday night.

Tips led officers to a cockfighting ring and an underground marijuana grow house operating directly across the street from the Greater Miami Adventist Academy along Northwest Sixth Street.

This was the fourth secret grow house Miami-Dade police officers have uncovered in less than two weeks. In the latest bust, police seized approximately 50 pounds of marijuana.

Police told Local 10 the first three appeared to have been designed by the same architect. However, they said this one is separate from those.

Miami-Dade police said the elaborate operation was accessible through a trap door in the backyard that led to a crawl space which runs underneath most of the home.

Several chemicals and a dangerous electrical setup were also discovered, according to investigators.

Officers said they were surprised to find an alleged cockfighting operation as well when they went to bust the grow house. They said birds were found dead and cages lined the backyard.

Police arrested Julio Valdes, 46, and Lazara Lopez, 50, and placed in the back of a police cruiser while officers combed through the house.

They both appeared in bond court late Tuesday afternoon, and were ordered to be held on $43,000 bond each.

Police said they are mostly concerned with the dangerous setup being so close to so many homes and a school.

The investigation is ongoing.

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