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2 arrested after grow operation found in St. Johns County

ST. JOHNS, Fla. – Investigators in St. Johns County arrested two people Wednesday after a grow house was discovered in their neighborhood off County Road 210.

Scott Yandell and Marsha Yandell (pictured below) were arrested in the home after investigators found dozens of marijuana plants as well as a hash oil extraction set-up inside. 

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photos of Marsha Yandell (left) and Scott Yandell.
St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photos of Marsha Yandell (left) and Scott Yandell.

Investigators said that with the hash oil extraction set up the way it is -- using gas tanks and other flammable items to heat and extract the oil from marijuana -- if one thing had gone wrong, this entire house could have blown up. 

"If one of those tanks were to go off, yes. As we all know in subdivisions today, we live in somewhat close proximity," Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan said. "Some more, some less than others. But if one of these tanks, or all of those tanks, were to have erupted, certainly we would have a serious hazard on our hands."

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant at a house in the The Vining subdivision on 238 Carolina Jasmine Way, where deputies said two suspects were verbally combative with deputies, not wanting to let them in the home.

Once deputies got inside, they found the entire set-up. Deputies said they are seeing more of these operations in the area.

"This is another trend we're seeing with the drug trade," Mulligan said. "The hash oil is highly concentrated. It highly affects individuals who take that substance."

Investigators spent hours taking dozens of plants as well as other items used in the hash oil extraction process from the scene. Because of the dangerous nature of these operations, detectives took many precautions going inside. Deputies said going through everything in the house will be a long process.

"We just never know what we're going to encounter," Mulligan said. "We don't have a full inventory. We don't even have an exact count of the plants. It's compressed in there. There's a lot of stuff, a lot of boxes. If you look at the garage there's a lot of boxes stacked up in the garage to block people from seeing in."

Investigators are looking into how long the two had lived in the home, as well as if there are any other grow houses that these two might be associated with in the area. 

Neighbors said they had no idea that something like this was happening so close to them. One said he rarely sees the two people in the house, and that the whole neighborhood was taken by surprise.

"I feel like it puts my family at risk, and all the other families around us," Gavin Mickley said. "So I'm kind of glad (they were arrested)."