Marijuana grow bust in Boulder County 2.0: Now 7,500 plants seized worth $1 million

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An update about yesterday's Boulder County marijuana grow seizure of 3,000 plants. After a closer count, the Boulder County Sheriff's Office thinks the plant total was closer to 3,500 -- and after more inspection of the nearby area, law-enforcement types located a second operation whose crop is currently estimated at 4,000, bringing the sum to 7,500.

Street value? Approximately $1 million.

BCSO Commander Rick Brough says Grow 2.0 "was about a mile in a southwesterly direction from the first one," which was in the vicinity of Raymond -- the town, not the guy everybody loves. "And from what I'm hearing, they shared irrigation systems. They were pulling water from the same river and irrigating both grows."

Next step? "Today, the Colorado National Guard is going to assist us. The plants have all been bundled up, and they're going to pick them up in two helicopters. They call it a swing load, with cargo nets -- and they're going to move them to a loading area designated off Colorado Highway 7. From there, it'll be put in dump trucks to be destroyed." The airlift should be underway at this writing.

Because BCSO officers, joined by officers from the Longmont Police SWAT team, the Boulder County Drug Task Force and the U.S. Forest Service have swept the area thoroughly both on the ground and from the air, Brough feels fairly confident there's not a third grow just around the bend. But that doesn't mean other rural areas in Boulder County might not boast grows of their own -- and this prospect could lead to ramped-up surveillance.

"At one time, an agency used to assist us with flyovers to specifically look for these kinds of things," Brough says. "I don't think we've done them for a couple of years, but that's something we may reevaluate. We may get the Forest Service involved to see what kind of strategies we might come up with from here."

In other words, the current mission is winding down -- but another one could be germinating as we speak. Page down to read the BCSO release about the latest find:

Second Marijuana Grow Located

Today, August 31, 2010, United States Forest Service Rangers and SWAT officers from the Boulder County Sheriff's Office and Longmont Police Department returned to the marijuana grow near Raymond, Colorado to continue their search of the area and collect marijuana plants previously found. During the search of the area, a second marijuana grow was located approximately one mile southwest from the original grow site.

The second site was on United States Forest Service land and covered approximately five acres. The new marijuana grow contained approximately 4000 marijuana plants bringing the total number of plants on the two sites to approximately 7500. The estimated street value of the marijuana plants is approximately one million dollars.

It is believed that the two sites were being maintained by the same individuals due to the proximity of the two sites to each other and both being irrigated with the same irrigation system.

Tomorrow, September 1, 2010, the Colorado National Guard will be assisting local authorities with the removal of the marijuana from the grow sites. The Colorado National Guard will by supplying two helicopters (a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and a Bell OH-58 Kiowa) that will be used to airlift the marijuana from the grow sites to the loading area (the open area located on the north side of Highway 7, just east of the intersection of Highway 72 and Highway 7). The marijuana and grow equipment will be loaded on dump trucks and be taken to a site to be destroyed.

The Sheriff's Office is investigating these incidents and would request anyone with any information contact the Boulder County Drug Task Force at (303) 441-1690 or they may contact Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or through www.nococrimestoppers.comwhere they can send an anonymous e-mail or text message. Tips may be eligible for a cash reward.

Media representatives are invited to the loading area and will be allowed to photograph and take video of the marijuana being airlifted to the loading site. The airlift is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. and will continue for approximately one half hour.

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