Feds, local police launch raids on up to 50 black-market marijuana grow houses in Denver area

Scores of agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and local police agencies fanned out early Thursday morning in a coordinated raid of up to 50 suspected black-market marijuana grow houses in the Denver metro area, authorities say.

Dozens of search warrants have been served to homeowners and residents across the metro area, said Randy Ladd, spokesman for the DEA’s Denver field office.

This is the third large-scale, coordinated raid in five months on black-market grow houses. Ladd said the grow operations have ties to organized crime syndicates on the East Coast.

Colorado is a prime location for the grow houses because, unlike other states that have legalized marijuana, it allows people to grow marijuana inside residential homes, Ladd said.

On Oct. 10, federal and local drug task force agents targeted at least 24 homes, largely in the Tollgate Crossing subdivision near Aurora’s Cherokee Trail High School. At the time, agents were seen carrying hundreds of marijuana plants outside, lining them up in neat rows across driveways and front lawns.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler previously said all the illegal grow houses in Aurora were centered on a single criminal operation.

During the Aurora raid, Ladd said, “people don’t live in these homes. They bought them solely to run marijuana operations.”

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