Multi-million dollar black market marijuana cultivation dismantled in Colorado

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    Multi-million dollar black market marijuana cultivation dismantled in Colorado Photograph of marijuana plants. EFE / Archive

     Denver (CO), – Federal agents and local police in several areas of Colorado dismantled a billionaire illicit marihuana business that went unnoticed for a decade, according to authorities said Friday at a press conference.

    Tim McDermott, special agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), said that between last Wednesday and Thursday there were 227 operations in Colorado along Interstate 25, with a balance of “dozens” of detainees.

    More than 80,000 marijuana plants were seized, as well as some 2,000 kilograms of processed marijuana, $ 1.1 million in cash and three high-end automobiles.

    This morning, the Pueblo County sheriff’s office confirmed the arrest during the operation of two young Hispanics, Sebastián González, 25, and Antonia Bassi, 21, for illegally cultivating marijuana on their property.

    Authorities suspect that the detainees have connections with the so-called “Cuban mafia” in Florida.

    In the Denver area, the actions were concentrated in “middle and upper class neighborhoods” in the suburbs to the north and south of the capital of Colorado, and especially in homes with high electricity consumption and modifications to their electrical installations.

    The investigation began in 2006, when two unauthorized marijuana crops were detected in Adams County, north of Denver.
    The discovery of these crops led to the arrest of Dan Tang in 2007, who later pleaded guilty to money laundering and having cultivated 24,000 marijuana plants in 24 houses.

    When Tang was then arrested, the police confiscated 3 million dollars and equipment valued at 1.2 million dollars. But the criminal organization continued to operate for more than 10 years.

    In August 2018, another joint operation of the DEA and local police in the Denver area dismantled 84 illegal marijuana crops, seizing 12,000 plants and some $ 945,000 in cash.

    Then, there were similar operations in October and December of last year, and in January and April of this year.

    The April operation focused on Pueblo and other counties in southern Colorado, culminating in the arrest of 40 suspects to be part of the “Payan” cartel of Mexican drug traffickers.
    On that occasion, the police seized 1.25 million dollars.

    “This investigation indicates that security agents and prosecutors are committed to the order of the law and to making sure Colorado returns to what it was before,” said Agent McDermott, referring to what has been said, “unfortunately Colorado. It is no longer known for its beautiful mountains and landscapes. ” (EFEUSA)

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