~ by Trevor Phipps ~
Drug busts continue to dominate the radar of local law enforcement agencies, which are displaying little leeway towards illegal marijuana grow operations.
In fact, if you are an illegal cannabis operator, law officers are relaying one key message: Get out of town by sundown.
Last week, the Teller County Sheriff’s Office made another illegal marijuana bust to add to their hefty list of grow operations they have taken down since a new law change was enacted at the beginning of 2018. In fact, the agency has confiscated pot from illegal marijuana grow operations, totaling between $1.5 million and $4.8 million in street value since the beginning of this year.
Last week, the Teller County Sheriff’s Office made another illegal marijuana bust to add to their hefty list of grow operations they have taken down since a new law change was enacted in the beginning of 2018. In fact, the agency has confiscated pot from illegal marijuana grow operations, totaling between $1.5 million and $4.8 million in street value since the beginning of this year.
And with the new successes of the Get Out of Teller campaign, Sheriff Jason Mikesell plans to help educate Canadian law officers in how to tackle illegal marijuana grow operations. Small communities in Canada must now deal with many of the same challenges that confronted Teller, with the recent legalization of recreational marijuana throughout the entire country.
On November 10, sheriff’s deputies responded to an anonymous tip about an illegal marijuana grow operation in the Florissant area. Once deputies arrived at 287 Drees Drive located in the Valley High subdivision near Florissant, deputies immediately noticed evidence of an illegal marijuana grow operation. The law enforcement officers then obtained a search warrant and conducted a thorough search of the suspect’s property. As a result of the search, deputies found more than 60 marijuana plants and three ounces of processed marijuana in the home and inside the crawlspace underneath the house.
Deputies then placed 31-year old Brandon Strausser into custody on class three felony charges related to the illegal cultivation of marijuana. Strausser was then booked into Teller County Jail with a $2,000 bond.
According to Teller County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Wes Walter, the suspect’s bond was lower than the typical amount of most suspects related to the crackdown against illegal marijuana grow operations. “In this case, there was no evidence of distribution found at the home,” Walter said. “And there was no evidence suggesting that this case was cartel-related.”
The recent bust is not a new ordeal for the local deputies as they have grappled with a virtual invasion of an illegal marijuana grow operations in the county since the beginning of the year; many of which have been connected to drug cartel organizations. According to Walter, so far this year the sheriff’s office has confiscated more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana, including both processed flower and plant weight, and more than three pounds of marijuana concentrate. The department has made 26 arrests and has seized more than 900 illegal marijuana plants.
According to Walter, the street value on the marijuana they have confiscated varies. For instance, in Colorado, the going rate for a pound of marijuana is around $1,500 versus the $4,800 price in Minnesota. Walter also said that marijuana can be worth as much as $8,000 a pound in areas like Washington, D.C. “The values all differ because 98 percent of the marijuana we have confiscated was being sold out of this state,” Walter said.
Teller Sheriff To Travel to Canada To Offer Drug-busting Tips
In other marijuana-related news, Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell recently announced to the public that he is taking a trip to Canada to help educate law enforcement officials there about how Teller County law officers deal with illegal marijuana grow operations and bust major cartels. This advice could be helpful in areas where small amounts of recreational cannabis have recently become legal on a nationwide basis.
According to the sheriff, Canadian law enforcement officials came to the Teller County area to learn about how to deal with enforcing legal marijuana before recreational marijuana became legal in their country. In October, recreational marijuana became legal across the entire country of Canada, in a move that some media outlets compared to the end of prohibition.
Now, the Canadian officials have asked Mikesell to talk to certain law enforcement officers on how their agency goes about busting illegal marijuana grow operations and cracking down against dangerous cartels. This is regarded as one of the main negative impacts from the legalization of growing and using recreational cannabis on a limited basis.
According to the sheriff, he is taking the trip on his own accord, and he is not using county funds.
Recreational pot became legal in Canada in October, with huge celebrations occurring in many cities there.
Mobile Street Pharmacist Operations Foiled In Woodland Park
Last week, the Teller County Sheriff’s Office was not alone in taking illegal drugs off the street as the Woodland Park Police Department had a rather large drug bust of their own. This case was further highlighted on local social media outlets.
On November 13, Woodland Park Police Corporal Ramirez was conducting business as a usual stop when he pulled over a car for a minor lane usage violation. During the stop, Ramirez immediately noticed evidence that drugs were being used in the car. He then called in several other officers and the agency’s K-9 investigator, Rico.
During the initial search, K-9 officer Rico indicated that there were illegal drugs in the vehicle. The team of officers then took the car to the police department, while they applied for a search warrant based on the indication given to them by their canine unit. They obtained the warrant then conducted a thorough search of the vehicle.
As a result of the detailed search, the officers found a small illicit pharmacy stashed in the vehicle. Officers recovered two and a half ounce of psilocybin mushrooms, one gram of heroin, four grams of crack cocaine, three ecstasy pills, dozens of morphine pills, and a loaded pistol.
The suspect was taken to jail as many local residents praised the efforts law enforcement officers put into keeping illegal drugs off the streets on social media.