Cuban refugees are dominating arrests in Florida’s indoor-marijuana trade in what investigators call a nearly punishment-free crime, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Groups of young Cubans are raising ultrapotent pot worth up to $4,500 a pound without fear of deportation or lengthy prison sentences. Probation is a common sentence for anyone convicted in state court of running a grow house. And, unlike with other foreign-born felons, U.S. policy prevents the deportation of Cubans.
South Florida groups identified by law enforcement as Cuban Drug Trafficking Organizations now control hundreds of grow houses that have sprung up from Miami to Atlanta since 2005. Narcotics authorities estimate that Cubans who arrived in the U.S. within the past five years represent 85 percent to 90 percent of the suspects arrested in Florida on grow-house-related charges. In Poinciana, one of Central Florida’s hot spots for illegal cultivation, Cuban-born suspects represent about 85 percent of growers arrested, officials say.