Ralston Creek marijuana haul worth half-million

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Is there any forest land in Colorado not festooned with marijuana? Weed roundups have become commonplace in recent months, as demonstrated by this slideshow and blog about $2.5 million worth of ganja seized on Sugarloaf Mountain this summer. The latest: $500,000 worth of marijuana plants found by hunters on Division of Wildlife property in the Ralston Creek State Wildlife Area and toted off by the West Metro Drug Task Force, assisted by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Below, roll through more photos of the bounty and get the JCSO's take:

Large marijuana grow found on Division of Wildlife property in Ralston Creek State Wildlife Area

Jefferson County, Co. -- On September 29, 2009 the West Metro Drug Task Force eradicated an elaborate marijuana grow operation adjacent to Golden Gate State Park on Division of Wildlife land. The Sheriff's Office was notified after hunters stumbled upon the plants on Saturday evening. This is the fourth outdoor grow of this type found in unincorporated Jefferson County this summer.

Task Force members along with personnel from the Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks spent several hours collecting the marijuana which amounted to over 1000 plants. Task Force members received air assistance from a Black Hawk helicopter flown by the Colorado Air National Guard. The helicopter was used to lift large bundles of marijuana out of the rugged terrain to a location where it could be loaded into vehicles for removal.

Although no one was located in the area, detectives believe that suspects were squatting on the mountainside while they tended to the grow operation. Detectives found a lean-to, along with a tent which contained food, clothing, sleeping bags and other household items.

The "street value" of the confiscated marijuana is estimated at five hundred thousand dollars.

Anyone with information about this crime is urged to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tip line at 303-271-5612.

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