Rolexes, homes, cars seized

U. S. at­tor­ney files for a for­fei­ture law­suit seek­ing to re­claim grow prop­erty.

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Kirk Mitchell

Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors are go­ing af­ter the money side of a south­ern Colorado mar­i­juana grow en­ter­prise by con­fis­cat­ing cash, homes and lux­ury cars.

U.S. At­tor­ney John Walsh’ s of­fice filed a for­fei­ture law­suit Thurs­day in U.S. District Court seek­ing to claim prop­erty in­clud­ing four homes, a mo­bile home, lux­ury watches, more than 1,000 mar­i­juana plants and nearly 1,000 pieces of mar­i­juana equip­ment.

The value of the for­fei­tures ex­ceed $ 1 mil­lion, in­clud­ing the $ 827,000 value of the homes, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral court records.

The law­suit stems from a drag­net last year in­which 13 men and a woman were charged­with fed­eral counts of il­le­gally grow­ing mar­i­juana.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­cent law­suit, mem­bers of the syn­di­cate bought homes in Co­topaxi and West­cliffe and turned them into il­le­gal grow op­er­a­tions. They shipped mar­i­juana to Florida via UPS.

Be­sides the mar­i­juana plants and equip­ment, agents from the South­ern Colorado Drug Task Force and the Colorado Springs DEA used elec­tric bills as ev­i­dence. Mar­i­juana grow op­er­a­tions de­mand a large amount of elec­tri­cal power.

For ex­am­ple, agents re­viewed the elec­tric bills of a home on Thun­der­bird Drive in Co­topaxi for 10months be­fore ac­cused drug dealer Vic­tor Gar­cia bought the home for $ 160,000 in 2013 and the 10 months af­ter the pur­chase.

The home had used 78 kilo­watts from San­gre De Cristo Elec­tric be­tween Septem­ber 2012 and June 2013.

Be­tween May 2014 and July 2015, the home con­sumed 17,573 kilo­watts, the re­port says.

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