Regardless of its legality, illegal marijuana grows are still a relatively common occurrence. Some people see legal states like Colorado, California, Oregon, and Washington as the perfect hiding places to illicitly cultivate cannabis. Last Wednesday served as a perfect example of this when two people in Colorado Springs, Colorado were arrested for a legal grow op.
Over 350 Plants Discovered in Colorado Springs Bust
Authorities found 352 cannabis plants, 1,300 clones, and 33 pounds of packaged refined marijuana. This promptly led to the arrest of Katia Sanchez (44) and Jose Cala Calvo (42).
On February 4, police discovered “an active marijuana grow” on the property after responding to a report of shots fired. On Wednesday, February 21, Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Division, and El Paso County sheriff’s deputies went to the residence and confirmed “a large marijuana grow operation.”
Once a search warrant was attained, authorities found plants growing in both the main residence, as well as a converted oversized two-car garage. Photos released by Colorado Springs Police show evidence of the large-scale grow in the 2400 block of Sinton Road.
Sanchez and Calvo are both facing charges of felony cultivation and distribution.
Colorado Marijuana Laws and Penalties for Cultivation and Distribution
Weed may be legal in Colorado, but that doesn’t mean the state goes easy on illegal growers. Colorado cannabis laws can be strict. And Sanchez and Calvo could be facing serious time, as well as hefty fines.
Cultivation of more than 30 plants is considered a level 3 felony punishable by 2-6 years imprisonment, as well as a fine between $2,000-$1,000,000.
The sale of more than 5 pounds but not more than 50 pounds is considered a level 2 felony punishable by a sentence of 4-16 years, as well as a fine of $3,000-$750,000.
The sale of more than 50 pounds is a level 1 felony and punishable by a sentence of 8 – 32 years, as well as fines between $ 5,000 – $ 1,000,000.
It’s not yet clear what charges the two will incur, but its likely they won’t get off easy.
Illegal Cannabis Grows in Colorado are Common Occurance
This isn’t the first time police have busted a large illegal cannabis grow in Colorado. Pueblo, about an hour south of Colorado Springs, is considered the most popular place for illegal marijuana grows in Colorado.
In October 2017, two large illegal grows in Pueblo were discovered that were worth $1 million. Four people were arrested, “all with ties to Cuba.”
Falcon is a rural area located southeast of Colorado Springs. In mid-January, authorities raided three illegal grows in the area. Authorities uncovered 175 plants, 5 pounds of processed cannabis, two firearms, and $5,000 in cash.
According to Jacqueline Kirby, spokeswoman for the El Paso County Sheriff, “really hitting these illegal grows hard” is a priority of the sheriff’s office.