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Parkland Grow House Raid Raises New Questions About Stephen Febonio's Murder

When the DEA raided a Parkland grow house at 7773 NW 124th Terrace on September 12, 2007 -- was Stephen Febonio's body crammed into a freezer in that very garage? Or had the freezer been moved out just days earlier, while the DEA had the house under surveillance?

Documents related to the DEA bust of the Parkland marijuana grow house raise questions about the aftermath of Stephen Febonio's murder. Febonio had installed drywall at the house, and he may have left a note for his father the night he disappeared on August 24, 2007  that ratted out that same grow house operation.

But a spokesman for the DEA told New Times the September 12 raid was unrelated to the murder. By coincidence, the DEA just happened to be watching the house during the weeks Febonio went missing and was murdered.

And just days before the DEA raid, on August 27, Febonio's alleged killer, his friend Jose Alfaro, may have moved a freezer containing Febonio's body into the garage of that same house -- although it's still unclear exactly when and if Alfaro moved the freezer out again.

The house had been under surveillance since at least August of that year, according to the criminal complaint in that case. DEA agents had been watching a man named Justin Andra Jones. They'd first spotted Jones during surveillance of a hydroponic gardening outlet, and agents followed him to the residence on 124th Terrace. They later confirmed that Florida Power and Light utility bills were in Jones's name.

Agents noted that the house's residents didn't put out trash for pick up -- one way grow house operators guard against law enforcement searching for drug evidence.

When agents let their drug-sniffing pooch Boomer examine the perimeter of the house, the dog indicated it smelled marijuana. So, for that matter, did the agents.

Jones, who was arrested when DEA agents raided the house and seized the 125 marijuana plants growing there, later told investigators working on the murder case that Jose Alfaro had kept a freezer filled with what he said was "deer meat" in that house's garage. Jones told cops he'd seen the freezer shortly after Febonio disappeared.

Two years later, Febonio's body was found buried in the freezer in Delray Beach.

So if the freezer containing Febonio's body was in the house when the DEA raided, why wasn't it found? And if it had been moved out days earlier, how come agents hadn't seen what surely would have looked mighty suspicious: two grow house suspects hauling a locked freezer wrapped with tie-downs out of a posh house in a gated community?

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Gail Shepherd
Contact: Gail Shepherd

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