Pueblo is perceived to be a marijuana-friendly city — so much so that in March, High Times attempted to move its Cannabis Cup there from Denver before eventually relocating it to California.
But in recent weeks, a slew of arrests related to allegedly illegal marijuana grows have taken place in the community, including the busts of nine men from Florida that we told you about earlier this month.
Since then, the campaign against illegal grows has continued, if not escalated.
According to the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, 22 people have been arrested and 4,600 marijuana plants have been seized since the middle of last month.
One of the cases detailed by the PCSO involved three members of the same family: Doug Radosti, 47, Stephanie Radosti, 52, and their son, Warren Radosti, 23.
At 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning, April 26, according to a sheriff's office release, deputies executed a search warrant at 1473 North Dailey Drive, in the Pueblo West area, after receiving a tip from neighbors "who complained of a strong odor of marijuana coming from the home, visible major alterations to the home’s electrical system and increased traffic from a number of out-of-state vehicles to the home."
Doug and Warren are said to be from Florida — the same state as those nine arrestees mentioned above — while Stephanie's most recent residence is listed as Tennessee.
Deputies had stopped by the night before, at which point Doug was quoted as telling them that he had a medical marijuana license that allowed him to have eighteen plants — but when they asked if they could enter the home and count them, he refused.
Hence, the warrant — and deputies say they found "609 plant roots from freshly cut marijuana plants...found in large trash bags in the basement and the backyard of the home." Doug told the law enforcers that he began ripping out the plants "after reading in the newspaper about a bust of an elaborate grow at a home in Pueblo West," the release maintains.
That same afternoon, a raid was conducted at a home at 301 West Mangrum Drive in Pueblo.
There, the PCSO notes, 120 plans were found "in various stages of growth in several rooms throughout the house."
In addition, "the home had an indoor swimming pool which investigators believe was being used to irrigate the plants that were being grown using the hydroponic method."
Meanwhile, deputies learned about the possible existence of another grow at 647 Las Verdes Drive — and there, they found 100 plants and about forty pounds of dried marijuana.
Arrested at these addresses were Vanessa Bebeau, 32, her stepfather Gary Copeland, sixty, and Mark Harry, 64.
"Since March 14, 2016, Sheriff’s deputies have arrested 22 people and seized nearly 4,600 marijuana plants from illegal grow operations at fifteen homes in Pueblo County," the release states, adding, "Fourteen of the homes are in Pueblo West and one was in South Pueblo County."
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At this rate, it's unclear how much longer Pueblo's marijuana-friendly reputation will last.
Continue to see mug shots of Bebeau, Copeland and Harry, as well as more photos from the Mangrum Drive raid.