By Randi Pierce | Staff Writer
In a joint operation on Thursday, Sept. 1, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Homeland Security Investigations, the Southwest Drug Task Force and the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) seized approximately 600 suspected marijuana plants between two separate residential properties within Archuleta County.
According to a press release from Undersheriff Mike Le Roux, the operation was a culmination of an effort which started on July 11.
In an interview, Le Roux explained the ACSO received information earlier in the year and obtained enough evidence to turn it over to the CBI, which then led the investigation.
“For sure, 600 is a big hit over two properties managed by the same person, effectively,” Le Roux said, adding that multiple people suspected to be involved have been identified.
He noted the CBI collected evidence that is now in the testing process.
Le Roux explained that 30 or more marijuana plants is considered a felony.
The undersheriff explained one of the properties is located in unincorporated Archuleta County near Walmart, while the other is located near Chimney Rock and the Piedra River.
The press release notes the information it contains is based on preliminary information available at the time of its drafting, and notes the ACSO’s “understanding of this operation may change as additional evidence is collected, analyzed and reviewed.”
Le Roux emphasized that the ACSO is not interested in grows in compliance with state law, but rather in large-scale illegal grows.
“Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office is in full support of our local Marijuana Business Establishments, including members of our community who wish to cultivate marijuana recreationally or medically within the parameters of the Colorado Revised Statute,” the press release states. “Our goal is to ensure that we have a safe and thriving community for everyone to enjoy.”
It adds, “We will pursue all black and gray market marijuana operations in an effort to protect our community from an increase in general and violent crime rates, exposure of marijuana to our teens and young adults, and the negative environmental impacts to our natural resources.”
The press release further notes the ACSO is “also committed to working with our community by conducting compliance checks and assisting with information on how to operate within the Colorado Revised Statute.”
If you have any information relating to black- and gray-market marijuana operations, please contact Archuleta County Combined Dispatch at (970) 731-2160.