Thomasville man busted for pot garden in forest
Gardening on the national forest got a Thomasville man in big trouble late last month.
Robert Langley, 44, was caught green handed in his garden on the White River National Forest near Meredith, cultivating his crop of more than 200 marijuana plants.
Langley was arrested July 27 and charged with cultivation of marijuana on a national forest, a felony, said White River National Forest law enforcement officer Ken Rice.
“I found him in his garden tending his plants,” Rice said. “It was cut and dried. I said put your hands up.”
Langley was issued a citation to appear in court. Rice said after speaking to Langely for two hours, he was convinced Langley was not going to skip town, and so he received a summons rather than being hauled to jail.
Rice also took as evidence 219 marijuana plants.
Rice said the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office could not provide backup nor transportation to the county jail at the time. “But if I thought he was a flight risk, I would have found a way [to take him to jail],” he added.
Langely appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge James M. Robb in federal court in Grand Junction for the first time Aug. 17. He was appointed a public defender and will appear for his arraignment in court Sept. 15, at which time the charges will be read and he may enter a plea.
Langley may face an additional charge of cultivation on a national forest with intent to distribute. An investigation is under way which will determine if additional charges will be brought against Langley, said Special Agent Luke Konantz.
“That’s a lot of dope for someone to smoke by themselves,” Rice said.
Although marijuana cultivation on federal land is not unusual, Rice said on the White River National Forest “it’s not real common because of the elevation.”
He remembered only one other arrest for marijuana cultivation on the forest, in the early 1980s. “My guess is there is some more out there but it’s hard to find.”
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