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HOUMA, La. - A 58-year-old man has been arrested on drug charges after a four-month investigation culminated with what deputies say was the discovery of a home marijuana growing operation that included nearly half a million dollars worth of illegal materials.

Gerard DeSoto, 58, faces charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm with a controlled substance and illegal proceeds from drug transactions.

Sheriff Jerry Larpenter said deputies served a search warrant at DeSoto's home and found what they described as an indoor-growing operation.

Larpenter said agents recovered: 20 marijuana plants with a value of $30,000; 4 large bundles of marijuana with an estimated street value of $116,000; Nearly 30 pound of hydroponic marijuana with a street value of $223,000 and 120 grams of hydroponic bauds with a street value of nearly $120,000.

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