A grow light shines through cannabis leaves at a commercial Denver grow facility in March 2014. (Seth McConnell, Denver Post file)

Pueblo sheriff makes 11th bust on suspected illegal grows in past month

Pueblo County authorities have busted another — their 11th in a month — suspected illegal marijuana grow, seizing 170 pot plants and arresting a 59-year-old man.

The “sophisticated” Pueblo West operation was discovered on Friday by sheriff’s deputies searching a home on the 1300 block of Kiva Drive.

Pueblo sheriff makes 11th bust of suspected illegal marijuana grows in past month
Eric Arroyo, 59 (Pueblo Sheriff’s office)

Investigators say the operation had high-powered lights, industrial-strength air conditions, sophistical irrigation and temperature and timing systems.

Eric Arroyo, who authorities say has ties to Florida and California, was arrested in connection with the operation.

“Detectives also found a butane hash oil operation, utilizing commercial-grade ovens and extraction equipment set up in the garage, along with several boxes of glass jars and packaging materials,” the county sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Investigators said they believe Arroyo was transporting the marijuana and hash oil out of state for sale.

The bust comes among a string of similar police 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.

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.

The 11 Pueblo County raids of suspected illegal marijuana have come since March 30. Several people have been arrested, many of them from out of state and with international ties.

Authorities say those operations have led to the seizure of more than 2,000 plants.

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

This story was first published on DenverPost.com