From the archives: marijuana bust | AspenTimes.com
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From the archives: marijuana bust

Lt. Bill Baldridge, who was in charge of the investigation.
Courtesy Aspen Historical Society

“Marijuana farm busted near Basalt,” noted the Aspen Times on Sept. 9, 1976. “‘It looked to me like the more mature plants had been topped,’ said Lt. Bill Baldridge of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department after he and 11 other men had spent 3.5 hours pulling 1,980 pounds of marijuana plants out of the ground last Thursday at Wingo Junction Ranch near Basalt, directly behind Hi-Co Lumber. As every marijuana grower knows, the tops of these illegal plants are most potent because they contain the highest concentration of mind-altering resins. Not only were the plants pruned systematically from the top. They were also growing in staged rows, according to reports. It was not the usual backyard operation, and some plants were 8’ tall. Baldridge told reporters this week that the marijuana was concealed by a solid fence of rough-cut lumber, between 10 and 12 feet tall, enclosing a corral. He said about a quarter of an acre of ‘good earth’ in the corral was planted solid. Adjacent buildings contained a drying room, an indoor growing room complete with plant lights, an area for ‘combing’ the plants, and scales to weigh out kilos, said Baldridge. Although the ranch’s lessee was there Thursday during the cultivation by law enforcers, no arrest has been made in this felony case. This marijuana farm — the first of its magnitude ever heard of in Pitkin County — was spotted by the land’s owner, a John Edward Hoaglund, who was visiting from Baggs, Wyo.”

The image shows Lt. Bill Baldridge, who was in charge of the investigation; courtesy Aspen Historical Society.

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