Garfield County in Colorado recently saw one of the largest illegal grow operation busts of the year, which appears to be part of a larger and potentially international drug operation. Both federal and local authorities teamed up to arrest 14 people that are connected to the massive grow, discovered earlier this week. The DEA has said that a citizen tip led them to pull over a U-Haul truck on Monday night. Inside of the truck, investigators found 3,900 pounds of cannabis. After looking into the truck, officials made arrests and obtained a warrant for a connected private property. That’s where they found the massive 2,400 plant grow that was only about a half mile from Interstate 70. Most of the plants they discovered were mature and rather large, some being more than 5 feet tall. The property had several acres of land and simply concealed the outdoor grow by using a tall fence. This wasn’t your typical instate illegal grow, however, because all 14 people that were arrested are Chinese nationals.
Authorities are trying to figure out how far this operation goes, because half of those that were arrested were in the U.S. illegally. At this point, investigators believe that the foreigners that were arrested might be victims or a labor trafficking operation. It appears that these people may very well have been forced to work at the illegal grow operation, and probably didn’t really understand what they were doing. Previously, Colorado has seen multiple giant grow operation busts that appear to be connected to drug lords in Florida and Mexico, but importing illegal workers for pot grows from China is a first. None of the names of those who were arrested have been released at this point. The DEA has more suspects in the case that they hope to bring in for questioning as they continue to try to discover those in charge of the operation.
This whole story is rather sad, especially if it turns out to be true that these Chinese nationals are victims of some kind of human trafficking. They are currently in custody at the Garfield County Jail, and could be facing some serious trouble. If they aren’t exonerated in some way, they will definitely be facing federal charges. The owner of the private property was not one of the 14 people arrested, so officials are in the process of tracking him down. Hopefully that will lead to some answers regarding who is really in charge of this massive grow. When everything was said and done, officials had confiscated 9,700 pounds of cannabis. It was literally taken from the scene by the truckload. It will be interesting to see where this investigation leads, hopefully the true culprits are discovered and held accountable for these potentially heinous crimes.