Landlord finds pot operation | AspenTimes.com

Landlord finds pot operation

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs correspondent

A homeowner renting out a property near Glenwood Springs was hoping to interest a buyer in the home. Instead, he said he discovered his renter’s elaborate indoor marijuana-growing operation. Officers from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team arrested Julia Lynn Jundt, 48, on Nov. 30 on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, conspiracy to cultivate marijuana and possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. She is out of the Garfield County Jail on $5,000 bond. Jundt’s husband, Steven, may also face charges, although the case is still under investigation, Sheriff Lou Vallario said.According to an arrest affidavit, homeowner John Hazen was planning to show the three-story, light brown stucco home to a potential buyer when he discovered a room in the basement that was “sheetrocked over.””They sheetrocked and framed in where the door is so it looked like there was never a door there,” Hazen said.He said he was suspicious because he had heard a rumor that there was a marijuana plant in the house, which is why he decided to kick through the Sheetrock and check out what was on the other side. “I was dumbfounded – it was a factory,” said Hazen, who then called police. A deputy wrote in the affidavit that Jundt said she wanted to “cooperate in any way possible.” Jundt said the deputy was there because she “had a little garden in the basement.” She signed a written consent to search form, and later said she wanted to “withdraw her consent” to the search after a deputy read Jundt her rights, according to the affidavit.Sheriff’s deputies found 73 live marijuana plants in various stages of maturity in a “hydroponic-type” growing system. When the Sheetrock facade was still in place, the grow room was accessible only through a hidden trapdoor in a bedroom closet floor.Law enforcement estimated the “large amount” of cultivation equipment could grow 400 to 500 plants. Police also found suspected psilocybin mushrooms, drug paraphernalia, pots, fertilizers, lighting equipment and a ventilation system with ductwork specifically for a grow operation.”What’s most significant about this is that it is a very elaborate grow operation and could have grown several hundred plants,” Vallario said. He added that grow operations of that magnitude don’t turn up in the area very often.”This isn’t a couple people growing weed in their kitchen window,” he said, describing it as an “organized drug trafficking operation.”Hazen described a giant air filter in a custom-built ventilation system with ductwork. He said the filter was about 5 feet by 3 feet. The extensive work done on the grow room appeared to be very professional, he added.”The equipment they had was unbelievable,” Hazen said. “This is a high-production deal. They’ve been working a while on this.”Deputies also said they found a detailed growing plan with different harvest dates for the various crops and a ledger with costs and expenses related to the operation. They also found a handwritten letter to Jundt’s daughter with instructions on how to care for the plants and the proper amounts of fertilizer to use, according to a search warrant affidavit.Hazen said he had “just never heard much” from the Jundts as tenants, but that Julia recently told him in an e-mail that she counseled youths who were in trouble with the law and that there may be police officers around as part of the program. But the e-mail did not mention any specific company or program Jundt may have worked for, Hazen added.Jundt said she is an alternative healer with a biochemistry degree and that she grew many herbs with medicinal purposes that had benefited people throughout the valley. She added that she had a medicinal marijuana permit in California but had not yet received one in Colorado.”I believe that is an herb and it is a plant that has medicinal properties,” she said. “This was not a marijuana distribution factory here.”Jundt also said she worked independently with kids on art projects, some of which were on display in an auction Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper hosted. She said kids need attention, devotion, love and guidance.”All I can do is be who I am and continue to live and ignore judgment,” Jundt said.Jundt is due back in court Jan. 10.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.