LAS ANIMAS COUNTY — It's been an effort that's lasted for several months, but thanks to the work of local and state law enforcement hundreds of pounds of marijuana have been seized and destroyed in Las Animas County.
The Las Animas County Sheriff's Office said it worked with multiple agencies to locate the 40 plus illegal sites, but the community also had a hand in tracking down them down.
Deputy Sheriff Larry Martinez said, "Probably over $5 million in value that we had seized and destroyed...I believe it is one of the larger numbers for Las Animas County."
The illegal grows are a major cause for concern.
"One of the safety factors there is that an individual doesn't know what substance they're putting into their body. It could kill them immediately...there are incidents where we believe that firearms could be involved, possession of firearms are illegal by that individual."
Near one of these sites a firearm was involved with a shot almost hitting a 13-year-old boy who was in the area.
"They were doing some ranching. I believe they were going after some cattle to round them up and this young man apparently had gotten too close to an area and there was a shot fired."
It's a scary situation, but something that helped start the investigation at that site and it didn't stop there.
"Many of these sites are as a result of the community members coming together and reporting as a team what's going on here to take care of the area they live...I've heard a couple of people say that when the wind would blow they could smell things coming over."
Simple calls like this - letting the sheriff's department know that something is wrong.
"The eyes and ears that we have on our side outnumber those individuals and that's the community, and those are the ones that really deserve the recognition."
The investigations on these grow sites are still going on. At least five people have been arrested and there could be more as the investigations continue. If you suspect an illegal grow might be going on please call 911.