Cops find pot patch in canyon

Nearly 900 marijuana plants with a street value of far more than $1 million have been found growing in a small canyon on remote private land near Parachute, authorities say.

Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team officers found the marijuana-growing operation off Garfield County Road 309 on Thursday after receiving information about it that day, said Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, TRIDENT’s board chairman.

With the help of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department and the Vail Police Department, officers removed about 890 marijuana plants ranging from 1 to 10 feet in height.

The operation included a watering system supplied by a stream running down the canyon.
Vallario said he didn’t have specific information on who owns the land, but it is commercially owned, and the owner had no knowledge of the operation.

Officers found signs that someone had been camping near the plants to help maintain them, and are following up on documents recovered from the camp to try to locate possible suspects in the case.

Vallario said that information isn’t the strongest lead, and it can be hard to make arrests in such cases “unless you’re willing to camp until someone comes along.”

He called the growing operation “a pretty big one.”

“Somebody’s going to be upset when they come back and find their marijuana gone,” he said.

Marijuana confiscated in such cases is typically destroyed by burning it or contaminating it with something such as diesel fuel and burying it in a landfill, Vallario said.

Anyone with information in the case is being asked to contact TRIDENT at 970-945-0744 or via


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