Pot Bust Dubbed Largest In Colorado History

14,500 Pot Plants Found Growing In Forest, Police Say

Denver drug agents said Monday a major pot bust netted two arrests and 14,500 marijuana plants.

The marijuana plants were growing in the Pike National Forest, near Highway 126, south of Buffalo Creek, about 7 miles north of Deckers, in Jefferson County.

The street value of the pot plants was estimated between $7 and $14 million by drug agents and filled two large dump trucks.

"Most plants were four to five feet, there were some six or seven footers," said Kevin Merrill, Assistant Special Agent in charge for the DEA’s Denver Field Office.

A hiker discovered the sophisticated marijuana garden deep in the Pike National Forest -- a good two to three miles off any road.

Merrill said the grow operation, roughly the size of two to three football fields, had been under surveillance for a couple weeks. The marijuana field had irrigation pipes that ran water from a local creek into the field.

He added seven to 10 Mexican migrant workers were camping and caring for the crop and ran from investigators Friday morning.

"This is just part of a trend we see where these Mexican nationals are going onto government property," Merrill said.

Until now, the trend was seen mostly in California. Suspects have been setting up shop across the border where they think no one will find them.

“It's a little unnerving,” said a woman in the town of Deckers Friday.

A reverse 911 call was placed to residents in the area warning to be on the lookout for people who may have been involved.

Merrill said one person was arrested Friday morning, and another was taken into custody on Sunday.

Both were found wearing Army fatigues. Neither of their names has been released.

It's the second bust like this in as many months in Colorado.

On July 9, another marijuana grow operation was also discovered in the Pike National Forest, about two to three miles away. A little more than 5,000 plants were discovered. Authorities are looking to see if the operations are related.

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