Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a man suspected of illegally growing dozens of marijuana plants between a home in Denver and another in Pueblo West.
Ryan Reuting, 28, is accused of felony charges in the case, including cultivating more than 30 pot plants.
The bust comes among a string of similar operations in southern Colorado over the past month and as federal and local authorities clamp down on an increase in marijuana being illegally grown in homes across the state.
The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading a probe into Reuting, first began investigating him after a 2 acre grass fire last week was sparked by a blown transformer at Reuting’s home in Pueblo West.
Deputies also smelled a strong odor of marijuana at the home and obtained a search warrant to scour the residence.
Officials say when they served the warrant Tuesday they found 49 budding plants and another 117 freshly harvested plants.
“The garage was set up with commercial heating and ventilation system along with extensive lighting an irrigation systems,” the sheriff’s office said in a Thursday news release.
Since Reuting had a partial medical marijuana license, however, the deputies left the pot as they continued investigating, said Gayle Perez, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.
While looking into the grows, authorities say they learned Reuting had another home in Denver with another possibly illegal marijuana cultivation operation.
Denver police searched the second home on Wednesday and found 100 plants and 20 pounds of dried marijuana, the release said.
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Colorado law allows people 21 and older to grow up to six plants — three or fewer of which can be mature, flowering plants — provided it’s done in an “enclosed, locked space.”
Some cities have limited the number of plants that can be grown in a single house, and some cities have imposed other zoning or code restrictions on home-growing. Denver has a cap of 12 plants.
When Pueblo investigators went back to Reuting’s Pueblo West home on Wednesday night after the Denver search, the marijuana — and Reuting — were gone.
Perez said that between the two grows, Reuting had far more plants than he was allowed under his medical marijuana permit.
Denver police say they are still investigating the case and that no charges against Reuting have been filed as of yet.
The sheriff’s office said Reuting’s case is their 10th investigation into marijuana being illegally grow in Pueblo County since March 30. Several people have been arrested, many of them from out of state and with international ties.
Anyone with information on Reuting’s whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 719-583-6250.
Jesse Paul: 303-954-1733, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JesseAPaul