The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office conducted a major illegal marijuana bust in the 7800 block of Colorado Highway 96 West, Monday.
Multiple agencies arrested nine people, including a juvenile following the discovery of two significant illegal marijuana grow fields on private property. Deputies say they seized more than 800 marijuana plants with an estimated 500 pounds of recently harvested marijuana.
The Sheriff's Office said they received information of a possible illegal grow on a 40-acre piece of private property. Detectives confirmed this by conducting surveillance and checked with licensing entities in Pueblo County to determine no legal license was obtained.
Deputies attempted to contact the listed property owner but were unsuccessful. Deputies say a search warrant was obtained and executed Monday morning, members of the Sheriff's Office SWAT team and ICE surrounded the grow fields where several people took off running.
Authorities were able to apprehend nine individuals, who they say are all believed to have connections to Mexico. One of which was a previously deported felon who will now face additional federal charges.
Deputies searched several hours for the three additional suspects who fled on foot. This lead to a reverse 9-1-1 call that was made made to residents advising them to be aware of any suspicious activity.
During the search, deputies say they also found guns, several make-shift shelters, drying tables, packaging materials and an elaborate irrigation system similar to those found in previous illegal grows involving cartel ties.
Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor said, “We uncovered this particular grow right at harvest and took hundreds of pounds of illegal marijuana out of circulation. It is concerning to me the location of the grow. These types of operations have been typically found in isolated locales in our mountains. These suspects are becoming more and more brazen in bringing them closer to the city of Pueblo.”
All nine individuals were arrested for possession with intent to distribute, cultivation of marijuana and conspiracy.
The individuals arrested are 21-year old Juan Sanchez-Rodrigues, 64-year old Jose Beltran-Valdez, 45-year old Lorenzo Rodriguez-Paredes, 39-year old Luis Ramirez-Rueda, 24-year old Luis Moreno-Garibay, 26-year old Ramon Hernandez-Cruz, 49-year old Tomas Sanchez-Vasquez and 42-year old Eugenio Ramirez-Arreola.
The eight adults were booked into the Pueblo County Jail, the 16-year old juvenile male and only U.S. Citizen of the nine was booked into the Pueblo Youth Services Center.
The investigation is ongoing.
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