Police: Two men rented luxe house for marijuana grow
Two men told police in 2016 they moved to Colorado from Florida solely to set up a residential marijuana grow operation, and one of the men was in court this week, advised on possible charges of unlawful manufacture of marijuana concentrate and cultivation of more than 30 marijuana plants.
The home used by Alexis Tejada, 26, and Rolando Pedraja, 30 — in the 300 block of Dakota Circle, near Colorado National Monument and worth nearly $800,000 — was barely furnished and the garage was being customized with additional walls to enable a complex grow operation, when it was raided by law enforcement on Feb. 5, 2016.
“Both Tejada and Pedraja each stated that they moved here from Florida for the sole purpose of growing marijuana because marijuana was legal in Colorado,” an arrest affidavit from the Grand Junction Police Department reads.
Each of the men allegedly told police that $50,000 had been invested into setting up the marijuana growing operation, and that they were receiving allowances from family in Florida including house rental payments of $2,500 a month and electric bills that reached as high as $800 a month.
According to county property records, the home is currently owned by Daniel Paoli, who is not mentioned in Tejada’s arrest record.
Assistant Mesa County Attorney Rich Tuttle argued for a secured bond for Tejada on Wednesday, and said, “We’ve seen this happening where bad people move into our area and cause other crime.”
A defense attorney for Tejada said his client has a home in Pueblo, plans to stay in Colorado, and has no incentive to flee.
On Wednesday, Mesa County Court Judge Bruce Raaum cited a pending case in Texas for Tejada — for possession of from 5 to 50 pounds of marijuana — and issued him a $25,000 cash-only bond,
Also according to police, Tejada told investigators that he planned on using a butane hash oil extraction system to make wax, oils and edibles.
“Tejada stated that he was not aware that this process is illegal,” police wrote.
Pedraja is not in the custody of the Mesa County Jail, and is believed to be still at large.