A cannabis plant grows in a garden in Cologne, western Germany in 2014. (Oliver Berg, AFP/Getty Images file)

Colorado authorities, feds eradicate two marijuana grows on BLM land

Federal officers and Colorado authorities said Monday they eradicated two unrelated, expansive marijuana grows last month on Bureau of Land Management property on the Western Slope.

Ten people were arrested in connection with the grows, nine of whom are Mexican nationals and the other who is a native of Honduras, officials said.

The first grow was found by BLM rangers on Sept. 15 between the towns of Gateway and Naturita.

“They discovered more than 1,200 fully mature marijuana plants, many exceeding six-feet-tall, along with 211 kilograms of dried marijuana and a rifle,” Colorado’s U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release. “… Because of the size of the operation, officers spent two and a half days eradicating and removing the plants.”

The second grow was found on Sept. 30 near the first site.

“Evidence of thousands of marijuana plants appeared recently harvested with approximately 69.6 kilograms of processed marijuana still on site,” the release said.

Both grows were found in Montrose County.

“Illicit marijuana grows on public lands violate the drug laws and harm the environment,” Colorado’s U.S. Attorney, John Walsh, said in a statement. “This fall, Colorado has seen an explosion in the number and size of illicit marijuana grows on public land, which federal and state authorities are aggressively investigating and prosecuting.”

Federal agents have reported an increase in such grows over the last several years, including one found in the White River National Forest north of Aspen last fall worth as much as $8 million.

Federal prosecutors say those arrested in connection with the grows discovered last month face unspecified criminal charges.

Jesse Paul: 303-954-1733, jpaul@denverpost.com or @JesseAPaul

This story was first published on DenverPost.com