DENVER -- Drug Enforcement Agency agents across Colorado are dealing with a growing problem: a surge in illegal grows in rural parts of our state.
Documents obtained by Denver7 show agents are seeing a jump of about 50 percent in illegal grows across rural areas.
In one recent case along the Western Slope, about 9,000 plants were found on two islands on the Colorado river near Grand Junction.
"We had an issue before, it's much more significant now," said Barbra Roach, Denver's DEA special agent in charge. "It's basically individuals coming in and taking advantage, there's no tax base, they're utilizing our natural resources."
These aren't victimless crimes either, impacting all of us including our environment.
"We already have a limited amount of water we can all use, right, you have the population, you have the farmers, and now you have the marijuana growers," said Roach.
Agents feel drug organizations come here to Colorado because they don’t think they’ll be prosecuted.
Many of the groups have ties to Russia and Cuba.