Deputies said Brandon Boone's body had been buried at a home on Glasgow Avenue near Lake Marsha Drive and Turkey Lake Road, not far from the Universal Orlando Resort.
Greg Palermo said on Tuesday that he buried Boone's body in his backyard after Boone died of an overdose about two months ago.
He said that, last week, he dug a hole that was 4 feet long by 4 feet wide and 9 feet deep, "to make sure it was sanitary," and buried the body.
"He had no family. He had nobody," Palermo said. "You bury things when they die. (It) seemed like the normal thing to do."
He said he and Boone had been friends for about a year and described him as being funny.
Palermo said deputies arrived at his home Friday, thinking he was involved in a drug operation.
"(They were) looking for a meth manufacturing laboratory," he said. "Obviously, nobody went to jail. There was no chemistry going on over here. And it's just ridiculous."
Palermo said he told deputies that he had buried Boone's body in his backyard.
"I wish someone had called 911 prior to me showing up at the house," he said. "I wish that I didn't do it. I almost wish that his ashes were back there -- (that) it was done the proper way."
Palermo said he chose his backyard for the burial because of a comment Boone once made while they were fishing outside the lakefront home.
Palermo said that Boone had said, "It's pretty back there." According to Palermo, "He looked back and said, 'Man, I'd like to be buried back there.'"
Palermo said he regrets how he handled the situation.
"I know I did something wrong. I didn't handle something appropriately," he said. "I hope that the family forgives me for not handling the situation correctly."
Records said Palermo was arrested on drug charges in 2009, but the charges were dismissed after he completed a pretrial diversion program.
Resident Javier Gerena said he was awakened Friday morning by a deputy making an announcement on a loudspeaker.
"All I heard was a bullhorn. 'This is the Sheriff's Office. Residents of 5015: Please come out with your hands up' or something like that," he said. "They were excavating in the back. They had a canopy outside, and they were just digging holes."
Gerena said he saw deputies at the home Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
An excavator was parked outside the home Monday.
"The investigation is ongoing, cause of death has not been determined, and any applicable charges are forthcoming," the Sheriff's Office said in an email Tuesday.
No other details were given.