9 arrested in major pot bust in Pueblo worth $3.9 million

PUEBLO, Colo. — Police on Monday arrested nine suspects in connection with a major marijuana bust worth $3.9 million in Pueblo County.

The bust happened Monday in the 7800 block of Highway 96 West just west of Pueblo. Authorities say two grow fields were located on the private 40-acre property, with more than 800 marijuana plants in various stages of growth along with an estimated 500 pounds of recently harvested and dried marijuana.

According to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, they received a tip regarding a possible illegal marijuana grow on the property. Patrol deputies confirmed the tip and and checked with licensing entities in Pueblo County and the Colorado Department of Health and Environment to determine no legal license was obtained. Authorities tried to contact the listed homeowner but were unsuccessful. Authorities are continuing to investigate the homeowner’s possible connection and/or involvement.

A search warrant was obtained and executed Monday morning, with multiple agencies assisting, including members of the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and ICE.

Authorities say the nine individuals arrested are all believed to have ties to Mexico. Additionally, one of the individuals was a previously deported felon who will now face additional federal charges, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies searched several hours for three other suspects who ran away into a nearby wooded area. They have not been apprehended.

While searching the property, deputies also recovered guns, several makeshift shelters, drying tables, drying lines, packaging materials, and an elaborate irrigation system similar to those found in previous illegal outdoor grow operations that had ties to the cartel. Additionally, authorities say there was also a complex watering system which included a well, operated by a large gas generator, a holding pond and a 300-gallon water storage tank.

The nine individuals arrested are Juan Sanchez-Rodrigues, 21, Jose Beltran-Valdez, 64, Lorenzo Rodriguez-Paredes, 45, Luis Ramirez-Rueda, 39, Luis Moreno-Garibay, 24, Ramon Hernandez-Cruz, 26, Tomas Sanchez-Vasquez, 49, and Eugenio Ramirez-Arreola, 42. A boy, 16, who authorities say is the only U.S. citizen, was booked into the Pueblo Youth Services Center.

All nine individuals were arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, cultivation of marijuana and conspiracy. The eight adults were booked into Pueblo County Jail.

The investigation is ongoing.



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