Two Indicted By Federal Grand Jury Following Additional Marijuana Raids in Western Colorado
DENVER – A federal grand jury has indicted two individuals who, after investigation, were found tending to a large marijuana grow in western Colorado, U.S. Attorney John Walsh, and DEA Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Barbra Roach announced. The two men charged, Luis Adolfo Garcia, age 33 of Parachute, and Luis Rios-Cortes, age 23, a Mexican National in the country illegally, have made their initial appearance, where they were advised of the pending charges as well as their rights. Both were also arraigned by a U.S. Magistrate Judge. Both defendants were ordered held without bond by a U.S. Magistrate Judge. Approximately 1,720 pounds of marijuana was recovered during the November 13, 2015 raids.
According to court documents, in April of 2015, a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ranger noticed two trucks conspicuously but consistently appearing in an area along the Dolores River. Ultimately the BLM found two large marijuana grows on their property, one on September 15th, which resulted in the arrest of four defendants, and a second on September 30, 2015, four miles from the first location, where six people were arrested. After those raids, the DEA, along with the BLM, the Delta County Sheriff and the Seventh Judicial Drug Task Force, continued to investigate potential illegal marijuana grows in the area. The two trucks seen in the area, one a Chevy Silverado, and the other a maroon Ford F-150, were continually seen in the area. Additional investigative techniques were used which resulted in the identification of two addresses.
On Friday, November 13th, the DEA, along with the other investigative partners, executed two search warrants. The first was at a residence in Parachute, and the other was identified as the “San Juan Vista Property”. Evidence of illegal marijuana activity, including the names of some of the defendants arrested in September, was found in the residence. At the San Juan Vista Property, law enforcement found approximately 1,720 pounds of dried marijuana. The property containing the marijuana was owned by Luis Garcia’s sister, Esther Garcia. The residence searched was Esther Garcia’s as well. Luis Garcia was stopped multiple times while driving the Chevy Silverado, which is owned by Esther Garcia. The investigation continues.
Luis Adolfo Garcia and Luis Rios-Cortes each face one count of Conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, which carries a penalty of not less than 5 years, and not more than 40 years, and up to a $5,000,000 fine. They also each face one count of Manufacture and possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, which carries the same penalty. In addition, Rios-Cortes faces one count of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. That count carries a penalty of not more than 10 years, and up to a $250,000 fine.
“We have seen a notable increase this year in illegal marijuana grows in Western Colorado,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “As we work with the DEA, BLM, and our local law enforcement partners, we are seizing large amounts of marijuana. In addition, we have charged a total of 12 individuals, many here illegally from Mexico, for tending to these marijuana grows.”
“The Drug Enforcement Administration will continue to investigate illegal marijuana cultivation,” stated Barbra Roach, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Denver Field Division. “Criminal Organizations outside the state continue to attempt to use both public and private lands in Colorado to further their illegal activities at the expense of the citizens of our community. These individuals and organizations will be held accountable for their actions.”
“The teamwork between the DEA, BLM and the Delta County Sheriff’s Department and the Seventh Judicial Drug Task Force was outstanding.” stated Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee. “All the agencies worked together to apprehend these felons engaged in the illegal cultivation and distribution of marijuana.”
This investigation is being conducted by the DEA, BLM, the Delta County Sheriff, and the Seventh Judicial Drug Task Force.
The defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Weber.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.