Southern Colorado authorities say they are still working with federal agents to investigate this month’s fatal shooting of a man who was trying to break into a home that had an illegal, 400-plant marijuana grow.
Huerfano County Sheriff Bruce Newman said he thinks the attempted home invasion March 14 about 20 miles west of Walsenburg was directly linked to the massive cannabis operation.
Jorge Gonzales, of the Fort Morgan area, was killed as he and two others tried to break into the rural home near the intersection of Huerfano County roads 520 and 530.
One of the home’s two residents shot Gonzales, who was armed, Newman said.
The residents, Augustin Garcia and his fiancée Janice Camacho, both 31, have been arrested on charges linked to the marijuana operation.
Authorities say any charges in the fatal shooting are pending the outcome of the sheriff’s office investigation.
Newman said the Drug Enforcement Administration is working with his deputies on the case. The two other home-invasion suspects are still on the loose.
“We’re still investigating it,” Newman said, adding that authorities are looking for connections that the victim and suspects might have to organized crime.
Newman said he thinks Garcia and Camacho, who are Florida residents, are part of an influx of people coming to his area to illegally grow marijuana.
“I think what’s going on is a lot of people are coming here, growing it here and then taking it back to other states,” Newman said.
The nearby San Luis Valley, to the west, has seen a population boom from people lured by cheap land and legal marijuana.
Jesse Paul: 303-954-1733, email@example.com or @JesseAPaul