Thousands of illegal marijuana plants seized in Las Animas County

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Millions of dollars in pot plants discovered in Las Animas County over summer. Courtesy of Las Animas County Sheriff

LAS ANIMAS COUNTY, Colo. — The Sheriff’s Office along with local and state law enforcement have seized more than $5.7 million in marijuana from more than 40 illegal grows in the summer.

The county announced the haul Monday. The Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office spent approximately 200 staff hours, while conducting these investigations, at a cost of $6,000. Since May, the Sheriff’s Office has seized approximately 5904 illicit marijuana plants, with a street value of $5,757,000.00.

Anyone with information pertaining to illicit marijuana grow operations within Las Animas County is asked to call 719-846-2211.   

Courtesy of Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office

Pinion Canyon Maneuver Site

On May 26,  a rancher reported to the Otero County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) that his 13-year-old son was shot at while rounding up cattle on leased grazing property in the county. The rancher indicated that his son was near a suspected illegal marijuana grow in the county. With the assistance of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Black Market Marijuana Team (BMMT), two sites were located that investigators believed were used to cultivate illegal marijuana in the eastern part Las Animas County, in the Las Animas Ranch’s Subdivision. 486 illicit marijuana plants were found with an estimated street value $486,000 and six firearms were seized.

Following a comprehensive investigation during the summer, search warrants were executed at these locations on Thursday, September 12. The CBI, LACSO , Bent County Sheriff’s Office, Baca County Sheriff’s Office, OCSO, Huerfano County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office SWAT and Pueblo Police Department SWAT participated in this operation resulting in the arrests of four suspects. The suspects are identified as 40-year-old Ronnie Thursby, 23-year-old Deven Thursby, 34-year-old Denis Street, and 31-year-old Christopher Huxtable.

They face felony charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute-over 50 pounds, special offender, and cultivation of marijuana-over 30 plants, and are currently being held on a $50,000 cash bond at the county detention facility. 

Additional Las Animas County Illegal Marijuana Grow Operations

During the spring and summer of 2019, the LACSO investigated three clandestine marijuana grow sites located on property near the Colorado/New Mexico border within Las Animas County. The LACSO, CBI, CPW, and area law enforcement agencies eradicated 15,000 marijuana plants from these locations, with a black market street value of$4,906,000.

While conducting the investigation into the above grows, multiple other grow sites were located in this area, with between 5,000 and 15,000 additional illicit marijuana plants identified. 

Fishers Peak Ranches Subdivision and Surrounding area

The LACSO has seized 117 illicit marijuana plants from a grow site in the Fishers Peak Ranches subdivision.  The street value of approximately $117,000 was determined for this grow site. This case remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office.

With assistance of the CBI, investigators located several other illicit marijuana grows in the area yielding 247 illicit marijuana plants that were located and eradicated, and had an estimated street calue of $247,000.00.  40 year-old Heath Rigmaiden, from Las Animas County, Colorado was taken into custody. He faces felony charges of cultivation of marijuana-over 30 plants and he posted a $45,000 bond and was released from custody.

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