Pueblo authorities seized 79 marijuana plants at a home inhabited by two Russian immigrants, Olga Berina and Evegnly Groshikov, who recently moved to southern Colorado. (Pueblo Sheriff's Office)

Colorado Springs Mayor: Judgment day is coming for illegal marijuana growers

Drug raids targeting illegal marijuana grow operations shipping to out-of-state markets have made headlines in Colorado, but Colorado Springs has seemed untouched.

That’s about to change. Judgment day is coming, said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. He expects hundreds of busts in coming months.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers
John Suthers poses for his 2013 portrait when he was Colorado Attorney General. (Handout)

And those busts won’t focus on your average home grows, where citizens cultivate a few more plants than the 12 legally permitted, officials say. They are targeting unregistered, commercial-sized operations run by out-of-state residents, mainly from Florida and with ties to cartels.

In 2015, police in at least 33 states reported intercepting Colorado marijuana, according to a Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area report. “You have to understand what Colorado is,” Tim Scott, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s resident agent in charge of the Colorado Springs bureau, told the City Council in April. “Afghanistan is the source country for heroin. Venezuela and Columbia are source countries for cocaine. Mexico is the source country for methamphetamines. You are the source state for marijuana.”

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