Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Dozens arrested in Denver-area pot raids targeting exporters

By: SADIE GURMAN, Associated Press
April 14, 2016 Updated: April 14, 2016 at 9:39 pm
0

DENVER — Police and federal agents arrested more than 40 people and seized piles of pot plants and elaborate growing equipment Thursday during raids of homes and warehouses throughout the Denver area, part of a multi-state investigation into the illegal distribution of marijuana outside Colorado.

Authorities described the case as the latest example of drug traffickers seeking safe haven in the state's flourishing marijuana industry in order to ship the drug out of state, where it can sell for more than double what it would in Colorado. Several raids in recent weeks have taken aim at out-of-state drug rings, including a sweep last month that focused on unlicensed pot grows of varying sizes.

The yearlong investigation that led to Thursday's raids began after residents living near the grows complained about the smell of weed, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press. The official wasn't authorized to comment on the ongoing investigation and did so on the condition of anonymity.

The official said the case involves people who moved to Colorado from Texas specifically to grow marijuana that would be illegally exported.

Officers searched about 30 properties during the raids, which spanned from the Denver area south to Colorado Springs. The North Metro Drug Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration referred questions to the state attorney general's office, which refused to comment.

At one home in a residential neighborhood, agents confiscated grow lights and laid them on the lawn and driveway. In an industrial spot in Denver, large pot branches were stacked up in bushy piles outside a trailer and loaded onto a National Guard vehicle, the pungent stench drawing curious onlookers.

Traffickers hide among the state's sanctioned warehouses and farms, but also in neighborhoods where concerned neighbors sometimes tip police, authorities say.

In Pueblo, about 115 miles south of Denver, seven separate investigations this month have led to the arrests of 12 people from Florida, many of whom are originally from Cuba. The Pueblo County sheriff's office has said all were growing the drug for shipment to more lucrative markets. Some had relocated to Colorado just weeks earlier.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.