Between 7,000 and 9,000 marijuana plants valued at an estimated $15 million were seized by law enforcement agencies on Wednesday. The crop seizure, in a sophisticated growing area between Rye and San Isabel in Pueblo County, Colorado, is the largest marijuana grow bust in Pueblo County history as well as one of the largest busts in Colorado history.
"This is the work of Mexican drug cartels," Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor said to The Pueblo Chieftain. "This stuff isn't being distributed here. It's being grown, harvested and sent to California or wherever. No doubt this is the biggest (grow) bust in the history of Pueblo County."
A federal agent who didn't want to be identified told The Pueblo Chieftain that this was also either the third or fourth largest grow bust in state history.
Sheriff Taylor described the sophisticated conditions of the grow operation to KOAA, "Down in the grows there's a lot o huge campsites, kitchen areas, propane stoves, sleeping bags [and] clipping stations."
Fox 31 reports that the massive grow operation was taking place on the private property of the late Robert "Bob" Jackson, a Pueblo community leader and former representative in the Colorado State House, according to KRDO. The land is so remote that authorities had to use a Blackhawk helicopter to access and seize the plants.
Two suspects were arrested during the raid and although law enforcement officers would not identify the individuals, they did say are believed to be Mexican nationals who have allegedly been growing pot on Jackson's property for years.