Houston grand jury indicts 4 Cuban nationals on racketeering charges

bpurser@macon.comMarch 12, 2014 

PERRY -- Four Cuban nationals have been indicted on three counts of racketeering in connection with an alleged multimillion dollar, marijuana growing operation headquartered in Houston County.

The four -- Gilberto Padron-German, 24; Lazaro Padron-Martinez, 37; Juan Miguel Padron, 45; and Rachel Martinez, 22 -- were also indicted Tuesday by a Houston County grand on charges of manufacturing marijuana, manufacturing marijuana with intent to distribute, trafficking marijuana and criminal damage to property.

In the indictment, prosecutors dubbed the alleged operation “The Padron Organization.”

The four were arrested Feb. 11 after a two-hour raid of six homes, including four that were gutted and converted into nurseries called grow houses. The houses looked like normal residences from the outside.

Combined, authorities seized more than 386 marijuana plants valued at $3.86 million and another 86.5 pounds of marijuana packaged for resale and valued at $432,500. Also, about $218,000 in cash was seized. No weapons were taken.

The indictment alleged the operation existed from Sept. 13, 2012, to Feb. 11, 2014, when it was raided and dismantled by authorities.

Two of the grow houses in unincorporated Houston County were located at 338 Northlake Drive and 2617 U.S. 341 S.; a third was in unincorporated Peach County at 7287 Buckeye Road; and the fourth was in unincorporated Crawford County at 1188 Tribble Road.

The indictment alleged that the four manufactured and packaged the marijuana at the four growing houses and then transported them to a 202 Spring Creek home in Perry for storage.

The criminal damage is related to the removal of walls of the rental home on Northlake Drive for the alleged grow house, according to the indictment.

Grand jury declines indictment in man’s death

The grand jury heard facts in a Christmas Day homicide and found insufficient grounds to indict a Warner Robins man accused in the incident.

While he could not comment on what the grand jury heard Tuesday, prosecutor Dan Bibler said the facts of the case reflected self-defense.

“We’re going to close that case and not pursue it,” Bibler said.

Shannon Llorens, 42, had been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the death in the 200 block of Ferguson Street.

Shortly after 8 p.m. Dec. 25, sheriff’s deputies and emergency medical personnel found 61-year-old Elijah Jackson lying in a chair and covered with a blanket.

Jackson, who smelled of alcohol, had been hit in the head with the flat end of a maul ax after getting into an argument over food with Llorens, according to the sheriff’s report. Jackson had first hit Llorens with a shovel in the elbow.

Jackson, whose head had stopped bleeding from a wound that swelled to the size of a softball, refused medical treatment. He later died from his injuries, Houston County sheriff’s Capt. Jon Holland said.

Llorens had left the mobile home before authorities arrived.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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