Aug 15, 2012 8:36 PM by Staff
It's a major marijuana bust in Pueblo County. The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office found about 9,000 plants growing on private land in the San Isabel National Forest near Rye. Sheriff Kirk Taylor says the pot has an estimated street value of $15 million and could be tied to Mexican drug cartels.
The land is so remote, they had to use a helicopter to get to the plants. Sheriff Taylor says the land owner wasn't even aware of the operation.
The sheriff describes it as a sophisticated grow operation that went undetected for nearly 2 years. "Down in the grows there's a lot of huge campsites, kitchen areas, propane stoves, sleeping bags, clipping stations. everything that would indicate this is not a local grow," said Sheriff Taylor.
Deputies arrested two suspects, who they believe are Mexican nationals. Two other suspects got away. Sheriff Taylor says there's an indication this could be a Mexican drug cartel operation. "If you don't think they're here, they are and if we pass Amendment 64, there's going to be a lot more of them," said Sheriff Taylor.
Amendment 64 will appear on Colorado's November ballot. Voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana. According to the Denver Post, "the measure would legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana for those 21 and older. It also would allow for people to grow up to six marijuana plants in their home."
The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office plans to store the marijuana plants in a secure area, until the case goes through the judicial system. However, Sheriff Taylor says ultimately the plants will be burned.