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Bank of Italy sits on top of pot Grow House

Italian authorities uncover the biggest marijuana cultivation site ever discovered in Rome. Financial Officers on a routine walk through of the Bank of Italy detected the smell of marijuana rising from an air duct of an underground tunnel. The aroma led them to a metal door that opened onto what looked like a legitimate subterranean mushroom-growing business. Truffles, which are a known delicacy in Rome, are a type of mushroom that would be sold in this type of store.

After the Officers noticed a fake brick wall, they pushed on the bricks and discovered a 43,000 square foot tunnel cultivation site. Within the tunnel, they found hundreds marijuana plants in various stages of growth, halogen lights, advance climate-control, irrigation and fertilization systems. The unusually hot summer in Rome gave rise to the strong marijuana smell that caused the Officers to investigate.

The owner of the mushroom business was arrested and police are investigating possible connection to organized crime. Within the grow house, 750 pounds of marijuana was cultivated, worth about $3.7 million.

The tunnel was built in the 1930s as part of a subway project ordered by Benito Mussolini. The tunnel project ceased with the onset of World War II and remained abandoned.