Marijuana investigation continues |

Marijuana investigation continues

— Future arrests are possible as the Routt County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate a major marijuana growth and distribution operation discovered earlier this week south of Steamboat Springs.

Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested one man in connection with the growing operation Monday, when the defendant was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana, sale of an illegal substance and possession of a deadly weapon. He was released from the Routt County Jail on Tuesday on $20,000 bond.

The Sheriff’s Office does have some leads about who else may have been involved in the large, long-term operation, Investigator Ken Klinger said Tuesday.

“I have some names,” Klinger said. “Are they customer base, or are they ancillary distributors? Hopefully by the end of the week, we’ll know more.”

The operation was discovered in the 28100 block of Routt County Road 41A, in the Hilton Gulch area south of Steamboat Springs, after a deputy received a tip from the property owner Sunday. In addition to the grow operation in three rooms above a two-car garage on the property, a search also turned up bags of marijuana ready for sale and a loaded weapon.

Investigators found plants as tall as 3 feet actively growing at the facility, as well as 23 immature plants, 23 drying strands of marijuana and dozens of discarded potting plants that already had been harvested.

It took a 26-foot-long U-Haul to cart all the evidence away from the Hilton Gulch property, which Klinger characterized as the largest grow operation he’s seen in more than a decade in Routt County.

In addition to identifying anyone else involved in growing and processing the marijuana, the investigation will hopefully uncover where and how the drug was being distributed, Klinger said.

“This investigation is going to be expansive,” Klinger said.

Defense attorney Kris Hammond could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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