Teens face felony charges after allegedly breaking into medical marijuana facility
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Three juveniles from Fruita accused of burglarizing a medical marijuana grow facility between Silt and New Castle appeared in Garfield County Court on Wednesday.
A fourth suspect, and the only adult in the case, is due in court next week.
A 15-year-old girl and two 17-year-old boys were charged with felony counts of second-degree burglary, and misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, theft and criminal mischief, among other charges.
One of the boys was still in custody and was being detained in a juvenile detention facility in Grand Junction, while the other boy has been on home detention since March 24.
The four are charged for allegedly driving nearly 80 miles, from Fruita to a ranch located on County Road 214, breaking into a greenhouse at the property and attempting to steal at least one marijuana plant on March 15.
According to a Garfield County sheriff’s deputy report, the plywood door to the greenhouse, which was locked, was broken, and an “exit” was cut in the greenhouse’s plastic covering on the other side of the structure. Authorities reported approximately $300 in damage to the greenhouse.
According to the report, deputies were called to the location by the owner, who reported that he had contacted two males in a gray Honda Civic driving away from his residence as he returned home the morning of March 15.
The property owner told deputies that he asked one of the boys what they were doing and they responded that they were trying to steal some pot plants.
According to the report, the property owner also told deputies that he rented his greenhouse to a local medicinal marijuana dispensary to grow marijuana plants.
The two boys took off in the vehicle, but apparently left behind the other two suspects. Deputies arrested the 15-year old girl and the 17-year old boy who were left behind, after tracking them with a K-9 unit for close to two miles.
Those two juveniles face additional charges of violation of a restraining order because, according to the deputy’s report, the two had restraining orders against one another in Mesa County.
The property owner took down the license plate number and reported it to deputies, who were able to trace the vehicle to a Fruita address. The vehicle was registered to Jose Rodolfo Chavez, 18, who was arrested several days after the others. Chavez posted a $12,000 bond a couple of days later.
According to the report, a neighbor claimed to have witnessed one of the boys running from the greenhouse carrying a plant, but later dropped the plant in a pasture.
The two who were arrested by Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputies near Silt, both identified the other juvenile suspect who escaped in the vehicle with Chavez as another 17-year old boy from Fruita. That boy was later arrested and interviewed by Fruita Police.
The 15-year old girl told authorities in an interview with Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputies that she had been to the ranch the Saturday before the alleged incident with her mother to ride horses.
The report stated that she admitted to telling the others charged in the case that “she knew they were growing marijuana there.”
The 17-year old boy arrested along with the girl, allegedly told authorities that he agreed to go steal marijuana with the other two boys in order to get out of trouble with them. According to the report, the two boys accused the other of stealing “weed” from them, and this was a way to pay them back.
Chavez was also arrested for burglary on Feb. 18, in Mesa County, according to court records. Specifics of that case were not available Wednesday.
The report stated only one plant was found to have been uprooted, but did not clarify how many plants were in the greenhouse.
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