TRIDENT seizes 928 marijuana plants near Glenwood Springs
August 26, 2009
GARFIELD COUNTY – The Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team seized 928 marijuana plants Monday at a location east of Cattle Creek after receiving a tip from a landowner who discovered the illegal growing operation on their property.
According to Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, the sheriff’s office received a call from a person who owns the property just off County Road 113, southeast of Glenwood Springs, who said that they had discovered the plants. Vallario said the call came in the last couple of days.
“It wasn’t by any means a long investigation,” Vallario said. “It was an opportunity where the owners found it, called us, and we eradicated the problem for them.”
Coincidentally, the TRIDENT task force was scheduled for a routine monthly training day on Monday, according to Vallario, who is also the chairman of TRIDENT’s board.
Vallario said that the timing of the tip, and with the task force fully assembled, they headed up Monday and cleared the crop. According to the sheriff’s office, most of the plants were four to five feet tall; in all, they had an estimated street value of about $2 million.
According to authorities, it appeared the operation had been well established for some time. These types of operations may be more common in rural areas like Garfield County than expected, Vallario said, but can be difficult to find because of the topography.
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“We don’t assume that these are unique,” Vallario said.
TRIDENT, a multi-jurisdictional task force, also seized close to 890 marijuana plants growing in a canyon near Battlement Mesa in September 2008. At the time, that was considered the largest growing operation ever busted in Garfield County.
Three Grand Junction men were later arrested suspected of having a connection with the operation after TRIDENT officers found medical records at a camp located at the site with one of the suspect’s names on it.
The sheriff’s office was also tipped off by landowners of that operation as well.
“It is the same sort of thing,” Vallario said.
The property owners are not suspects in this most recent case, Vallario said. However, he said that TRIDENT will pursue any leads developed through the investigation.
Vallario was unable to release any further information specific to the investigation, however he said that he was hopeful that arrests would be made.
“We are hoping to, but don’t know what they’ve found to lead us to any suspects at this time,” Vallario said.