Parachute pot farm leads to arrests
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
PARACHUTE, Colo. ” Authorities arrested three men Tuesday for allegedly harvesting marijuana from an 890-plant outdoor growing site in a canyon near Parachute.
The Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team, or TRIDENT, booked Luis Luna Flores, 31, German Ortiz, 26, and Humberto Flores, 36, on suspicion of marijuana cultivation and possession charges. Two of the men had addresses listed near Grand Junction.
According to arrest affidavits, TRIDENT got an anonymous tip on Sept. 22 about the growing site off County Road 309. The tipster said it was being harvested and guarded by people with guns.
Two days later, TRIDENT said it seized 890 marijuana plants from the site ” some as high as 10 feet tall. Sheriff Lou Vallario said at the time it was probably the largest growing site he could ever recall in Garfield County.
TRIDENT found medical records at a camp at the grow site with Flores’ name, as well as coveralls with blood on them, TRIDENT said.
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On Tuesday, a police officer saw Flores at the base of the growing site rush toward a Dodge Caravan that was blocking County Road 309, TRIDENT said, and the officer pulled the van over because it had been blocking the road and it had a defective taillight.
Walking up to the vehicle, the officer noticed the “distinct and overwhelming odor” of marijuana and the three suspects inside, TRIDENT said in an affidavit.
TRIDENT said it found a trash bag full of green marijuana stalks, about 25 grams of marijuana in a paper bag in Ortiz’s pocket, and nearly 10 pounds of marijuana in a trash bag in the back of the mini-van. TRIDENT also allegedly found camping gear in the van and official Sheriff’s Office crime scene yellow tape that was at the cultivation site.
The three suspects appeared for an advisement hearing in Glenwood Springs on Monday. As of Thursday, Ortiz and Humberto Flores hadn’t posted $6,500 bonds and Luis Luna Flores hadn’t posted a $7,000 bond. They return to court for formal filing of charges on Nov. 19.
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