Marijuana plants are housed in a Denver grow facility. (Seth McConnell, Denver Post file)

Seven arrested in extortion plot to grow marijuana in northern Colorado

FORT COLLINS — The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office has arrested seven people after raiding an illegal marijuana grow operation near Fort Collins.

The Coloradoan reports that officials say they seized hundreds of live plants and broke up a recently established and elaborate pot distribution ring during the raid late last month.

Investigators say the head of the operation posed as a real estate agent to find a headquarters for the marijuana. They say once he found a suitable location, he threatened the land owner with a racial discrimination lawsuit unless he could use the property.

Sheriff’s deputies visited the property and found 75 pounds of finished, sale-ready bud marijuana and 245 live marijuana plants.

The ringleader, 35-year-old Mario Garcia, was arrested Oct. 5 and faces felony drug and extortion charges.

Information from: Fort Collins Coloradoan