On July 9, 2009, the West Metro Drug Task Force eradicated a sophisticated outdoor marijuana grow operation in the Pike National Forest on Sugarloaf Mountain. Jefferson County Sheriff’s officials were notified of the incident after a rancher on horseback stumbled onto the marijuana field while attempting to collect stray cattle.
Task Force members and deputies spent nearly 24-hours collecting the marijuana, which amounted to over 5,100 plants weighing nearly 2,000 pounds. Task Force members received air assistance from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flown by the Colorado Air National Guard. The helicopter was used to lift large bundles of marijuana out of the steep and rugged terrain to a location where it could be loaded into vehicles for removal.
Although no one was located in the area, detectives believe that suspects were squatting on the mountainside while they tended to the grow operation. Detectives found a shack-like house which contained food, clothing, sleeping bags, cooking utensils and other household items.
The “street value” of the confiscated marijuana is estimated at $2.5 million dollars.
Anyone with information about this crime is urged to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 303-271-5612.