L-R: Eladio Hernandez Ponce, Elio Hernandez Delgado and Anaili Garcia Toledo. (Pueblo Sheriff's Office)

3 arrested in Pueblo-area raids on suspected illegal marijuana grows

Pueblo County sheriff’s deputies have arrested three people in connection with one of eight raids earlier this month on suspected illicit marijuana grows.

Elio Hernandez Delgado, 45, Eladio Hernandez Ponce, 36, and Anaili Garcia Toledo, 32, were all served warrants Wednesday for illegal marijuana cultivation. They were taken into custody without incident.

The charges stem from the April 5 discovery of 180 marijuana plants found at a south Pueblo County home. Arrests in the case were not immediately made.

The marijuana was found after the sheriff’s office received a tip.

The home was purchased in February, officials say, and the three arrested are all Cubans who had recently moved to southern Colorado from Florida.

Investigators say the pot plants found were in various stages of growth. Also located were extravagant lighting systems, numerous planting supplies and construction materials that detectives believed were going to be used to expand the grow operation, according to the sheriff’s office.

“When contacted last week, the residents told detectives they were operating a medical marijuana grow but had no paperwork to substantiate that claim,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

The eight illegal marijuana operations in Pueblo County since March 30 have led to the arrest of 12 people, all from Florida, and the seizure of about 2,400 pot plants. Five of those arrested — including Delgado, Ponce and Toledo — are originally from Cuba.

Charges are also pending against a man and woman from Russia who recently moved to Pueblo from New York. Authorities say 67 illegal marijuana plants were found in their home.

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

This story was first published on DenverPost.com