Example of marijuana plants found growing in a warehouse in LaPorte, Colorado. (Denver Post file)

Cracking down: Colorado county targets illegal marijuana grows, seizes 537 plants

Authorities targeting illegal marijuana grows in El Paso County on Thursday made one arrest and seized 537 plants, three guns, ammunition and cash.

The Colorado Springs Police Department says three search warrants were served as part of the operations, two inside the city of Colorado Springs and a third in an unincorporated area of El Paso County.

Filipe Hurtado Cruz (Provided by Colorado Springs Police Department)
Filipe Hurtado Cruz (Provided by Colorado Springs Police Department)

The Drug Enforcement Administration as well as other area law enforcement agencies assisted in the busts.

A member of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation also was involved and arrested a man, Felipe Hurtado, for six outstanding felony warrants from the state of Georgia where he was suspected of stealing a shipment of about 8.9 million hydrocodone tablets in July 2014.

Colorado Springs police say after the theft, Hurtado relocated to the general area of Colorado Springs and began to grow marijuana under the pretext that it was for medical purposes.

Lt. Howard Black, a Colorado Springs police spokesman, said Hurtado was the only person arrested in the marijuana case.

The operation comes among a string of similar police operations in southern Colorado over the past several months and as federal and local authorities clamp down on 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.”

This story was first published on DenverPost.com