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- 08-17-2012, 12:00 PM #1
Authorities bust largest illegal pot grow in Pueblo County history Work of Mexican d
Authorities bust largest illegal pot grow in Pueblo County history
Work of Mexican drug cartels
Aug 16, 2012
PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. - The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office raided the largest illegal marijuana grow in Pueblo County history on Wednesday.
At least 7,000 marijuana plants, worth about $15 million, were found in the San Isabel Forest off of Highway 165 in Rye. The Sheriff's Office says this is "no doubt' the largest illegal marijuana raid in the county's history.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the investigation began in January when a local citizen discovered the cultivation site and reported it to the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff's Office Narcotics Detectives began a surveillance of the area towards the end of May as the snow dissipated. They discovered two sophisticated operations that included water pumps, irrigation lines and fertilizer. The locations were strategically selected based on sunlight, water and the ability to conceal the sites.
In June, Detectives discovered marijuana plants had been planted and were approximately 12-18 inches in height. Detectives also observed people under a man-made lean-to shelter near the marijuana plants.
In early August, two more grow sites were observed by the U.S. Forest Service during a routine "fly over" of the area checking for beetle kill and tree damage. Investigation into these grows revealed a man wearing camouflage in and around the grows. Corroborating evidence was gathered in order to obtain a search warrant for the area.
On Wednesday Sheriff Kirk Taylor led a multi-agency operation known as "Operation Flypaper" to extricate the marijuana grows.
The teams involved were the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, Narcotics Division, Special Weapons And Tactics team (S.W.A.T.), the Special Tactics And Techniques team (S.T.A.T.) and Emergency Services Bureau, the Pueblo Police Department's S.W.A.T. team and Narcotics Unit, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Guard Counter Drug Task Force.
The teams successfully found two marijuana grow sites that were larger than originally anticipated.
Sheriff Taylor says there's an indication this could be a Mexican drug cartel operation.
Two men, 32-year-old Luis Leon-Tobar and 29-year-old Abel Resendiz-Soto, were arrested without incident and were transported to the Pueblo County Jail. Four other men were seen fleeing the area on foot and have not yet been identified or apprehended due to the vast terrain. There are no indications that the four men who fled are in the area or are a threat to citizens, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Leon-Tobar and Resendiz-Soto are being held in the Pueblo County jail with a $100,000 bond for charges of unlawful distribution of 100 pounds or more of marijuana, illegal cultivation of 30 or more marijuana pants, illegal possession of marijuana more than 12 ounces, and second degree criminal trespass.
If you have any information regarding this case, you're asked to call the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office at 719-583-6250 or Crime Stoppers at 719-542-STOP (7867).
Mexican cartel confirmed in Pueblo County pot bust
More than 13,000 plants valued at $40 million seized
VIDEO AT LINK
Aug 17, 2012
PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. - Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor on Thursday confirmed the involvement of a Mexican drug cartel in Colorado's largest-ever drug raid conducted Wednesday.
"If people don't think (the cartel is) here, they're missing the point," said Taylor. "We've got an issue here, and we need to deal with it."
Taylor said final figures show 13,735 marijuana plants were seized with a street value of $40 million. The bust occurred in the small town of Rye, just five miles from Taylor's home.
Interviews with two men arrested at the scene and information from other agencies, said Taylor, confirm the involvement of a Mexican cartel. He said the men arrested likely were hired to harvest the plants, and another group of men grew and monitored the crop. Four men escaped the raid and have yet to be found or identified.
Taylor said the marijuana, first believed to be on San Isabel National Forest land, actually was on private property adjacent to the forest, and the owner was unaware of the operation. The participants likely believed they were in the forest and chose that location for a specific reason, said Taylor.
"Clandestine growers know the Forest Service is very undermanned as far as their law enforcement is concerned," he said.
Taylor described the operation as sophisticated, with camouflaged equipment and men who managed to avoid arousing suspicion for three years in a small town where strangers usually stand out.
Such illegal activity will become more common, Taylor said, if voters pass Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana this fall. He said passage of the amendment also will put the medical marijuana industry in peril.
"They're afraid that the feds will come in and take away their medicine," he said. "I think that's a valid argument for some individuals. I hope this drug bust opens the eyes of the community."
Taylor said it's unlikely that the cartel has another operation elsewhere in the county.
Rye residents remain stunned by the bust.
"We couldn't believe it when we heard it yesterday," said resident Holly Tittel. "The drug cartel doesn't sound like pleasant people to have in our little town."
Harold Fink, another resident, suggested the cartel likely had some local assistance.
"They'd have to have somebody familiar with the area, wouldn't they?" he asked.
Mexican cartel confirmed in Pueblo County pot bust | News - Home
- 08-17-2012, 12:20 PM #2
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- Apr 2012
I am sure tha Sheriff Taylor is wrong about the largest illegal marijuana raid in the country's history. Aug. 10 it was reported that a cartel farming operation busted in Polk Co. TX was cultivating 30 thousand plants. I think that made the "cartel farming" bust count in TX to five in 2011 and 2012. It is obvious to me that open border addicts have problems, why would you advocate open borders?
- 08-19-2012, 12:22 PM #3
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- Aug 2012
Sheriff Taylor wrong about Colorado's marijuana Amendment 64
Marijuana Prohibition grants the cartels an exclusive franchise to grow anywhere they are willing to take the risk as we see in this story where they have been allegedly operating for a couple of years. Our federal marijuana prohibition policy is the source of blame for these activities.
Marijuana is dangerous when it is illegal, not illegal because it is dangerous.
Lets pass Amendment 64 "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol" and end this nonsense of illegal grows in our forests..
- 08-19-2012, 01:44 PM #4
Law enforcement hasn't been able to stop the encroachment onto US lands by the cartels so far but perhaps passing an amendment to legalize marijuana will make the cartels see the error of their ways and they will stop all of their marijuana business activity because they will have legal competition. JMO
Check it out.
Mexican drug cartels in fight over drug route, 49 decapitated bodies found
Published May 14, 2012
- 08-19-2012, 03:21 PM #5
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- Aug 2012
The cartels are exhibiting the same behavior of the mobsters such as Al Capone when we tried Alcohol Prohibition for thirteen years. Prohibition gave Capone an exclusive franchise to sell illegal alcohol and bribe hundreds of judges and county sheriffs with his illicit money. Same thing is happening regarding marijuana, although perhaps not with this particular situation.
The cartels have moved into the US to supply the market for marijuana and other drugs. While I do not advocate use of illegal drugs, America's prohibition policy on marijuana has been a miserable failure and it is time to try something different. Why don't we regulate marijuana and remove this rather benign weed from the inventory of black market dealers?
Legalizing marijuana will not destroy the cartels, it will simply be one less item they can use to finance their activities. According to the DEA as much as 60% of their profits come from the production and sale of marijuana, mostly to markets on our side of the border.
Marijuana is dangerous when it is illegal, not illegal because it is dangerous. Prove me wrong.
- 08-19-2012, 06:52 PM #6
Personally, I have a problem with the second hand smoke. Further, I am in the camp that believes that it is a gateway drug for young teens.
I do know people that have chronic desease that have found some relief with marijuana as a tool for pain management but when I see the way the marijuana shops are set up like pill mills to hand out prescriptions to anyone that wants one for any little thing, I think that the medical marijuana business is awash in fraud.
I can't imagine that Mexican cartels are going to quietly into the night and just forget about their billions of dollars of profit. I also think that even if it is regulated, there will be a thriving black market. But, that is only my personal opinion.
Last edited by Newmexican; 08-19-2012 at 06:54 PM.
- 08-19-2012, 08:03 PM #7
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- Aug 2012
NM.. the gateway drug theory for marijuana has been debunked by several major studies. Underage use of alcohol and tobacco are indicators of risk taking behavior that often proceeds movement to illicit drugs. If anything is a gateway it is the legislative act of prohibition which places marijuana in the same market as dangerous illicit drugs.
We have eliminated much of the second hand smoke from tobacco users and the same should happen if marijuana were decriminalized. As for the pill mill comment we see the same occurring with lots of pharmaceuticals that have many more harmful side effects than cannabis. If there is fraud, go after the physician.
As I said earlier we are not going to eliminate the cartels, we will just give them one less drug to push to our kids. Being unregulated, they can sell anything in their criminal markets, but legalization would bring the price down to where it would be much less profitable. Most consumers would rather purchase a regulated product from a legitimate store rather than from some shady character on a street corner.
Compare it to alcohol. Folks can still brew their own, but most of us would rather purchase a six-pack from the local market. Lets decriminalize and stop sending our money to the Mexican cartels. There is no reason we can't produce everything here in the US and keep the money here paying taxes and supporting local businesses.
- 08-19-2012, 08:12 PM #8
Nice try, good argument on your part but it doesn't sway me.
- 08-19-2012, 10:19 PM #9
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- Aug 2012
NM... I have been studying this topic for the past fifteen years and have yet to find any rationale why we could continue this nonsense. If marijuana really is as harmful or dangerous as our government insists, then why do let criminals control every aspect of production, distribution and sale? Particularly why provide so much money to Mexican cartels? Do you really want to continue this nonsense?
Perhaps you can give us some reasons why we continue this failed policy. Can you or another reader tell us what America has gained from the past seventy years of marijuana prohibition? ----something other than full employment for law enforcement, criminal justice system, street dealers and cartels???
- 08-20-2012, 11:27 PM #10
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- Aug 2012
NM... You are not alone... The behavior is called "cognitive dissonance" and occurs when a person such as yourself is presented with information that conflicts with every belief the individual has held for decades. The dissonance occurs when trying to rationalize this new information which does not fit well with the old beliefs. ------ "this new stuff makes sense, but if true brings into question all of the values I believe in and have lived with for decades---- what will my friends and colleagues think -----could I have been wrong all these years----?
Almost forgot one of the major reasons for this cognitive dissonance----- Folks who are employed in the criminal justice system stand to lose a big chunk of money and power if we ever decriminalize marijuana. Bad karma to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. ----Won't need nearly as many enforcement agents looking in Willie Nelson's car for a baggie of weed. Also won't need as many border enforcers looking for marijuana trafficking. We can grow all we need right here.
Anyway I enjoyed the discussion and wish you well. Our current policy is not working, lets try something that might work.
Last edited by Underdog6; 08-21-2012 at 02:52 PM.