By Jesse Sarles

(CBS4) – Deputies in Pueblo County discovered a large illegal marijuana grow operation this week and they are trying to determine who is responsible for it. The deputies were among those who responded to a structure fire in the 5100 block of McCarthy Road on Monday. A house on that property sustained heavy damage in the fire, and afterwards the deputies found the pot grow in an adjacent building.

(credit: Pueblo County Sheriff)

“As they approached the outbuilding, deputies saw evidence of a possible illegal marijuana grow operation in the building, to include multiple electrical panels, several large air conditioning units and several vents,” the department stated in a news release.

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office said the grow operation had 1,446 plants in it, and the value of the illegal drugs is estimated at $1.4 million. Both the house and the outbuilding with the plants in it were unoccupied when first responders arrived.

(credit: Pueblo County Sheriff)

State law allows only 12 marijuana plants per household.

Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor called the amount of plants present was “extreme.”

“(It’s) a sign that the product was intended solely for black market sale,” Taylor said in a prepared statement. “Finding an operation of this size is an indication the black market continues to have a strong presence in our state. We will continue to seek out and eradicate these types of grow operations until all of those responsible for them realize it’s against the law.”

Anyone who might be able to help the sheriff’s office with their investigation into this case is asked to call (719) 583-6250.

Jesse Sarles