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13-004 Detectives Locate Marijuana Grow-Op After Responding To Fire In Palm Harbor Home; Homeowner Is Arrested

Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Investigative Operations Bureau
-Narcotics Unit
Patrol Operations Bureau

Palm Harbor Fire Department

Kerry S. Nichols (Arrested)
DOB: 03/11/1962
Address: 3749 Appleton Court, Palm Harbor
Arrested for cultivation and possession of marijuana.

What:
Detectives located a marijuana grow-op in a Palm Harbor residence after responding to a reported fire in the home.

When:
Deputies responded to the fire at about 8:38 p.m. on Friday, January 4, 2013.

Where:
The grow-op was located at a private residence at 3749 Appleton Court in Palm Harbor.

Why/How:
According to investigators, the Palm Harbor Fire Department and Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of smoke at the Palm Harbor home located at 3749 Appleton Court. The fire, which was quickly extinguished, was determined to be food cooking on the stove. Detectives say the homeowner, identified as 50-year-old Kerry S. Nichols had apparently fallen asleep while the food was cooking. No injuries were reported.

Initially, FD personnel suspected there might be a meth lab in the home; and the Haz-Mat Team was summoned to search the home. No meth lab was found. Investigators located a marijuana grow-op in a back room of the residence. About four plants and other grow-op equipment were located and seized.

Nichols was arrested for cultivation and possession of marijuana and was transported to the Pinellas County Jail without further incident.

A photo of the suspect will be available once the booking process is complete.

The investigation continues.

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