Authorities find 99 pot plants worth $275K in East Palatka home

Anonymous tip leads to grow house discovery, deputies say

EAST PALATKA, Fla. – An anonymous tip on Wednesday led to the discovery of 99 marijuana plants growing in two separate rooms in an East Palatka home, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office said.

The tip led detectives to the home of Peter James Vammen, 60, on Michelle Avenue, a block away from a church and day care.

Vammen agreed to let authorities search his home, and detectives said they found 99 pot plants growing nearly 5 feet tall in two rooms, along with seeds and grow lamps. Detectives also said they found processed marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

They called it an extensive operation. The street value of the confiscated  marijuana is estimated to be $275,000.

A woman who works at the nearby day care said she’s never seen drugs in the area.

“I feel kind of uneasy. This is a really good area,” Annette Smith said, adding that it's normally a safe place for children. “It kind of puts me on edge. I don’t know the gentleman. Just to know we have children here, it's kind of odd.”

Vammen was arrested and taken to the Putnam County Jail, officials said. He is charged with one felony count of producing marijuana, one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug equipment.

Vammen was arrested in 2012 in Lake County on the same charges.

He is currently being held on a $3,500 bond.

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