Home-Grow Operations a Growing Concern for Law Enforcement, Says DPD

This fall has seen a myriad of crime related to marijuana home grows. At last week's Marijuana Management Symposium, a panel on law enforcement and public safety comprising Denver Police Commander James Henning,  former Erie police chief Marco Vasquez and Aurora Police Sergeant Scott Pendleton advised law enforcement reps from other states on what Colorado has done right in handling cannabis-related crimes — and what it should have done differently.

Henning addressed the issue of cannabis home grows, which he says have become a bigger problem in Colorado since Amendment 64 passed. "The black market and marijuana, it got big here," he said. "It got much bigger. The black market in marijuana is booming."

To prove his point, he provided the audience with a list of the most recent home-grow crimes — five in the last two months in Denver alone:

September 19: Home-invasion robbery, victim tied up, unknown amount of MJ taken by two armed suspects.

October 9: Armed suspect defending his outdoor grow shoots two teens; killing a fifteen-year-old male, and possibly paralyzing a fourteen-year-old.

October 17: Party defending his outside home grow shoots an intruder with a BB gun, the suspect returns fire with a real gun and leaves the "victim" in critical condition. He was running an unlicensed dispensary out of his home with eight plants and a BHO lab.

October 19:
Detectives investigate an outdoor home grow next door to the Young Americans Bank; suspect had 64 plants and a BHO lab.

October 24:
Suspect with sixty plants tries to put out a fire in his indoor home grow, suffers smoke inhalation and burns. Mushrooms and cocaine also found.

According to Henning, the DPD is currently investigating more than seventy other complaints of home-grow operations around the city.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kate McKee Simmons interned at the National Catholic Reporter, was a reporter for the New York Post, and spent a brief stint in Israel learning international reporting before writing for Westword.