Photo from one of the homes where illegal marijuana grow operations were discovered by Pueblo County Sheriff's Narcotics Investigators in May 2016. (Pueblo Sheriff's Office)

Pueblo sheriff: Illegal marijuana grows estimated at $1.3M; seven arrests

Pueblo County authorities arrested seven people on Tuesday night after discovering five more homes with suspected illegal marijuana grow operations, officials say.

Gayle Perez, spokeswoman for the county sheriff’s office, said 214 cannabis plants and another 50 pounds of dried pot were seized as part of the operations. The operations were worth a combined estimated $1.3 million, authorities said in a news release.

The homes were searched by detectives following up on a citizen’s tip, she said. The six men and one woman arrested all had ties to Florida.

“They had recently relocated to Colorado,” Perez said.

Those arrested were Orestes Noy Morejon, 33; Virgilio Miranda, 63; Alejandro Rubio Farray, 37; Mario Miranda Sr., 64; Mario Daniel Miranda Jr., 43; Mavy Miranda Alonso, 37 and Alfredo Hernandez, 45, the release said. All seven were arrested for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana.

Four of the homes searched were in Pueblo West while the fifth was in a southern part of the county.

The suspected busts, which authorities say are linked, represent the 19th in Pueblo County over the past two months. The sheriff’s office has seized some 5,400 marijuana plants and made roughly 30 arrests.

Many of those arrested have had ties to Florida, some also with connections to Cuba. The majority of the busts have been made at Pueblo West homes.

The raids also come among a string of similar police operations in southern Colorado and across the state over the past several months and as federal and local authorities clamp down on marijuana being illegally grown in homes.

RELATED: More illicit pot being grown in Colorado homes, shipped out of 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.

Jesse Paul: 303-954-1733, or @JesseAPaul

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