PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. - Using a UH-60 helicopter equipped with a hoist and nets, Colorado Army National Guard Soldiers helped the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office move an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 marijuana plants - nearly $15 million in street value - from two remote areas near Rye, Colo.
The plants were located on private property bordering the San Isabel National Forest and members the Colorado National Guard Joint Counter-Drug Task Force's Drug Interdiction section were called to assist with moving the plants, which were growing in steep terrain impassible by motor vehicle.
The operation began Aug. 15 and marks the largest marijuana bust in Pueblo County history and one of the largest ever in Colorado.
Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor led the multi-agency operation known as "Operation Flypaper" to extricate the marijuana grows.
According to Taylor, markers indicate these grows could be part of a larger Mexican drug cartel operation.
"If you don't think they're here, they are," he said.
Other teams involved in the bust represent the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, Narcotics Division, Special Weapons And Tactics team, the Special Tactics And Techniques team, and Emergency Services Bureau; the Pueblo Police Department's SWAT team and Narcotics Unit; the U.S. Forest Service; and the CO-JCDTF.
The CO-JCDTF supports local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, community-based organizations and schools with a variety of services to help rid Colorado communities of the effects of drug abuse and associated social issues.
CO-JCDTF is divided into three sections: Drug Interdiction, Drug Demand Reduction and Substance Abuse Prevention.