Eagle County o∞cial and brother arrested over illegal pot grow
An elected official in Eagle County and his brother have been arrested on suspicion of operating an illegal marijuana grow — complete with several greenhouses and an airfield — authorities announced Thursday.
Theodore “Ted” Archibeque and Thomas Archibeque are suspected of knowingly allowing the cultivation/manufacturing of marijuana, a Class 1 drug felony, which carries a mandatory eight-year prison sentence, investigators say.
Ted Archibeque is the elected Eagle County surveyor, according to the county sheriff’s office.
The Archibeque brothers were taken into custody early Thursday but were in the process of being released on personal recognizance bonds by the afternoon.
Officials say that on Nov. 1, local law enforcement teamed up with the Drug Enforcement Administration to serve a federal warrant on property owned by Ted Archibeque.
“They found 28 growing plants and 65 pounds of processed marijuana during the search,” the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. “Law enforcement officers also observed what appeared to be recent construction of multiple greenhouses and an airfield.”
Authorities said the grow site, in the county’s Sweetwater area, broke Eagle County and Colorado Department of Revenue regulations.
“Eagle County restricts the number of marijuana plants allowed per household and all commercial marijuana grows require a use permit,” the release said. “Presently, there are three licensed industrial outdoor grow operations in Eagle County, and the targeted property is not one of them.”
Ted Archibeque was elected to the post of county surveyor in November 2014 and was sworn in on Jan. 13, 2015.
“As an elected position, there is no provision for placing the surveyor on administrative suspension,” said Kris Friel, an Eagle County spokeswoman. “Ted is still the county surveyor, and according to our attorney’s office, state statute indicates he remains qualified for office unless he loses his right to vote.”
Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown said the alleged involvement of Ted Archibeque, as an elected official, “reflects poorly on the integrity of an elected office.”
“Law enforcement has a responsibility to enforce the laws and detect illegal grows to support the integrity of lawful operations, which includes a collection of tax revenue,” Brown said in a statement. “Illegal operations disrupt a level playing field, which cannot be where one is subject to regulation and tax, and another where no rules apply.”