According to LACSO, local sheriff's deputies and members of several other law enforcement agencies collaboratively investigated and eradicated over forty growing sites in Las Animas County alone in the spring and summer; the street value of the destroyed marijuana is estimated at around $5.76 million.
The initial investigation started after a Colorado rancher told the Otero County Sheriff's Office that his thirteen-year-old son was shot at while rounding up cattle grazing on property that his family was leasing. According to the LACSO announcement, the rancher believed his son had come across an illegal marijuana grow, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's Black Market Marijuana Team began investigating the area shortly after.
"Two sites were located that investigators believed were used to cultivate illegal marijuana in the eastern part of Las Animas County, in the Las Animas Ranch’s Subdivision," the report reads, adding that 486 marijuana plants and six firearms were seized. Four suspects were arrested in connection with the two grows: Ronnie Thursby, Deven Thursby, Denis Street and Christopher Huxtable.
Law enforcement officials also located and destroyed around 120 marijuana plants from a separate illegal grow site in the Fishers Peak Ranches subdivision of Las Animas County during the summer, and are "currently working to investigate and eradicate" a handful of other grows, according to LACSO.
The LACSO and Colorado Bureau of Investigation called upon over a half-dozen more law enforcement agencies to aid in the investigation and raids, including the OCSO, Bent County Sheriff’s Office, Baca County Sheriff’s Office, Huerfano County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office SWAT and Pueblo Police Department SWAT.