Law enforcement officers with the U.S. Forest Service are investigating a “significant” marijuana patch discovered earlier this month in the White River National Forest near Redstone, authorities said Friday.
The Forest Service undertook an operation Friday to remove the marijuana plants from the Hayes Creek area roughly 2 miles south of Redstone, according to a source familiar with the operation.
“They pulled out thousands and thousands of plants,” the source said.
No information was available Friday on whether the growers had been identified or whether there were arrests. White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said he couldn’t comment on the matter because it is under investigation.
A father and son hiking in the area discovered the pot patch about two weeks ago.
“They came across some marijuana plants growing in the woods,” said Alex Burchetta, public information officer for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. “It appeared to be a large number of plants.”
A deputy interviewed the hikers and determined that the property is within the national forest. He informed the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District about the discovery, and the Sheriff’s Office followed standard procedure and turned the investigation over to the Forest Service, Burchetta said.
The sheriff’s office learned this week that the plants would be removed Friday so it had a deputy stationed there during the operation, Burchetta said. The deputy didn’t participate in removing the pot plants, he said.