Authorities in Baker County, Florida say they were shocked Wednesday to find a 18-year-old boy chained to a bed in an “elaborate” marijuana cultivation operation.
Baker County detectives allege that 29-year-old Troy Howell imprisoned his nephew to keep him from reporting the pot farm. A 15-year-old nephew and a 13-year-old niece also lived at the residence.
“Troy had basically tied a chain to the axle of the trailer and ran it under the floor and actually tied him [the teen] up around the neck in his bedroom there,” Sheriff Joey Dobson told The Florida Times-Union.
A doorbell was provided for the boy to ring when he needed to use the bathroom.
Authorities visited the house after the 15-year-old told officials at Baker County Middle School about the marijuana growing operation.
“It was really an elaborate situation,” Dobson explained. “He had all kinds of indoor equipment grow lights… Apparently he was distributing this marijuana and selling it by the pound.”
More than 90 marijuana plants and an illegal sawed-off shotgun were confiscated from a second trailer on the property.
Howell has been charged with false imprisonment, aggravated child abuse and growing and cultivating marijuana. Additional charges are pending.
Watch this video from First Coast News, broadcast Oct. 26, 2011.
(H/T: Miami New Times)