Huge Illegal Marijuana Grow Operation Found Near Rifle

Rifle—A massive illegal marijuana grow operation near Rifle has been shut down by local and federal law enforcement agencies.  Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario says 14 illegal Chinese immigrants, (12 men, 2 women) were also taken into custody and some three thousand marijuana plants were discovered.  Vallario says suspicions were raised when authorities noticed a large fence had been installed surrounding the property on Mile Pond Road.  Later deputies and agents with the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT) and the Drug Enforcement Agency spotted a U-HAUL Truck driving away from the property.  They pulled it over for a traffic violation and found several large marijuana plants in the back.  Garfield County Road and Bridge came in with bulldozers and other earth moving equipment to dig up the rest of the pot farm.   Vallario says this bust will make a small dent in Colorado’s marijuana black market.  He says there are more illegal grow ops out there being run by people hiding behind the state’s complex and confusing marijuana laws.  Vallario believes several other suspects linked to this operation managed to escape on foot.  He says it’s likely that the U. S. Attorney’s office will take the case from here.