Marijuana plants grow in a Denver commercial cultivation facility. (Denver Post file)

Twisted tale: Caretaker dies, local sheriffs dispose 700 pounds of marijuana from illegal grow

'The whole situation with this was just an odd one': No charges after caretaker dies, plants disposed

No criminal charges will be filed after the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office burned about 700 pounds of marijuana Tuesday in Penrose.

Fremont County Sheriff Jim Beicker said the illegal grow itself was a little interesting, as the caretaker for the marijuana grow has died and therefore no criminal charges will be pursued.

“The whole situation with this was just an odd one,” Beicker said.

Beicker explained that the sheriff’s office had been protecting the grow for some time, until they could do something about it, because the caretaker’s family inherited the grow.

“(The caretaker) had family out-of-state who inherited, and there were a lot of legal matters surrounding it,” Beicker said.

He said the family would not have been really been able to inherit the grow because they live out of state.

One family member did attempt to obtain a caretaker license at one point, but again, their out-of-state status prevented it from happening.

“The grow was left unsecure for quite sometime, so we’ve been working with the family to try and gain control of the plants,” Beicker said, adding that he wasn’t sure exactly how many plants over the legal limit the grow possessed.

He said that once the family relinquished the plants, then FCSO was able to confiscate the plants and dispose of them.

Beicker said that this was the first time FCSO disposed of marijuana themselves.

In a video posted on the FCSO Facebook page, a large pile of marijuana plants could be seen burning, in almost a bonfire like fashion.

“Normally, in the past, we’ve partnered with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and they’ve helped us dispose of the drugs,” Beicker said.

James Gothe, public information officer for the regional DEA, said typically when the DEA destroys illegal marijuana grows, they will go and get permission to use an authorized incinerator and dump the drugs in.

“When we destroy anything, we destroy the stuff so it’s completely unusable,” Gothe said.

Beicker said in the future, FCSO probably will continue working with the DEA or reach out to Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.

“It didn’t work out as well as we would have hoped,” he said.

Sarah Matott: 719-276-7648,

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