(Ed Andrieski, Associated Press file)

More than 20 illegal marijuana grow ops busted in statewide sweep in Colorado

Local authorities are busting members of a suspected ring that has been growing and distributing pot out-of-state, a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman in the Denver office said Thursday morning.

The DEA is assisting in the raids, which are an outgrowth of an investigation by the 18th Judicial District.

“I appreciate the public interest in the ongoing law enforcement operations,” 18th Judicial District Attorney George H. Brauchler said in a statement shortly after 2 p.m.

“Because they are ongoing, we will not be making any statement until all operations are completed and everyone’s safety is ensured. At that point, ethics rules will limit the type of information that can be shared.”

All warrants are under seal, the DEA spokesman said. The organization has allegedly been growing and shipping marijuana out-of-state in violation of state and federal laws.

Search warrants are being served in more than 20 locations in Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and El Paso counties.

In a related raid at 7100 West Colorado Drive, Lakewood police took one man into custody at about 5 a.m., said Steve Davis, police spokesman. The suspect was arrested on four warrants out of Arapahoe County.

Denver7 was on scene earlier Thursday morning as Denver police and DEA agents served a location near West 8th Avenue and Kalamath Street.

The DEA says Thursday’s sweeps are a culmination of a months-long investigation.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com