Marijuana grow operation in Pueblo site of a burglary and Ken Rose's still-mysterious death

Early Sunday morning, the body of Ken Rose, a man in his fifties, was found on the property of a medical marijuana farm in Pueblo County, where he is said to have worked as a watchman.

But thus far, authorities don't know if foul play was involved -- and neither can they say if the theft of one or more trash bags filled with weed had anything to do with Rose's death.

J.R. Hall, undersheriff with the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, notes that an autopsy has been performed, "but we do not have a cause of death. There were small abrasions and some bruising on him, but nothing that would have caused death" even though "there was an indication that he was possibly assaulted" before he died.

As a result, he adds, "a toxicology screen" has been ordered; results aren't expected for several weeks. In the meantime, Hall says there are no definitive indications that he perished as a result of a crime. But there are some question marks, including "some differences in accounts about the chronological time line" and the aforementioned burglary.

Here's Hall's narrative:

"Deputies were called to the 900 block of 38th Lane in Pueblo at 5:11 a.m. and discovered a deceased male person" -- Rose. "Detectives called and a search warrant was granted, and the reporting person stated that he was employed on the property as a night watchman. He discovered the body of Mr. Rose, who lived in a building on the property and was identified as the day watchman."

During the course of the investigation, Hall continues, officers learned "that there had apparently been a burglary around 4 a.m. At this point, we don't have evidence to prove that the burglary was associated with the death." Unsurprisingly, marijuana was the scofflaws' target. Hall says he can't divulge whether the cannabis had been processed or was in plant form, but the thieves "appear to have loaded it into trash bags."

This crime is the first Hall knows of to strike a Pueblo County grow operation -- although the same can't be said of marijuana operations in general. "We've had a few attempted thefts and burglaries at dispensaries," including one "where they tried to go in through the laundromat located next door and drill through the wall, and another one where they broke into the wrong area. They actually broke into a place that had reptiles, so they were met with snakes."

On top of that, he reveals, "there was one attempted robbery of a dispensary. But when they allegedly came in and saw the security measures, they turned around and walked back out."

As such, the confluence of a successful burglary and Rose's death definitely has gotten the attention of the PCSO. Hall stresses that the investigation is continuing, "and we hope to remove some of the equivocals out of this case."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts