Illegal Pot Grows Targeted In Series Of Raids

By Jennifer Brice

DENVER (CBS4)– Authorities raided dozens of home and businesses across the Front Range as they cracked down on illegal pot grow operations.

Officers searched homes and warehouses beginning Wednesday night.

The investigation began out of the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and culminated Thursday morning with dozens of arrests from the raids. Sources say about 20 locations were raided from El Paso County to Northglenn.

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Near 7th and Kalamath, CBS4 cameras captured SWAT teams blocking roads while raiding a home while several people in handcuffs were detained outside.

Sources say a child was also taken from the home. Meanwhile across Denver in a Congress Park neighborhood, neighbors like Anne Warhover woke to the sound of police on bullhorns.

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“I heard someone say, were coming, were coming and police said come out and they all came out with their hands up,” said Warhover.

Near Peoria and Interstate 70, nearby businesses say officers were seen removing bushels of pot from a warehouse, loading it into military trucks. The DEA and other police agencies were executing the search warrants.

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Ann Anderson lives near a home off Monroe that was raided. She recently went to a cocktail party at the home raided early Thursday. She believes a multi-generational family lives there.

“Friendly family, raising their kids and grandkids,” she says.

Warhover says it was distressing to see the arrests happen, “Right across the street, then when I found out it was marijuana I thought… What’s the big deal?”

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Source say the big deal is the growers are not licensed, which makes them illegal. Dozens of people have now been arrested for breaking state and federal laws. The pot was allegedly being shipped out of state. Investigators close to the case do not believe this is the work of a cartel or mob, rather a group of organized Colorado residents growing pot illegally to make money.

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“I appreciate the public interest in the ongoing law enforcement operations,” said 18th Judicial District Attorney George H. Brauchler. “Because they are ongoing, we will not be making any statement until all operations are completed and everyone’s safety is ensured. At that point, ethics rules will limit the type of information that can be shared.”

Jennifer Brice is a reporter with CBS4 focusing on crime and courts. Follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @CBS4Jenn.

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