U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn, 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler and D.E.A. Denver Division Special Agent in Charge William McDermott announce the details of the latest multi-agency operation in Colorado. (Photo: Connor Shreve/KOA News Radio)
Forty two people were arrested over the last three days in one of the largest black market marijuana enforcement actions in Colorado history, according to U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. During the last two years more than 250 locations have been searched.
"Today we realize the black market in Colorado is thriving," 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young said. "I don't think the citizens of Colorado want us to be known as the hub of marijuana distribution for the United States, but unfortunately that's what it is now."
Of those arrested, 26 were state defendants and 16 were federal defendants. The federal defendants charged with offenses involving 100 or more marijuana plants face a mandatory sentence between five and 40 years in prison. Those charged with offenses involving 1,000 or more marijuana plants face 10 years to life.
18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler believed this is the result of legalizing marijuana in Colorado.
"There are parts of this state that did not vote for Amendment 64, but are bearing the brunt of the growth of the black market that was generated from it," Brauchler said. "...We can not put the genie back in to the bong. This is going to be an ongoing issue for Colorado moving forward. This operation has not destroyed the black market, it has only dented it."
From the locations searched, over 80,000 marijuana plants and 4,500 pounds of finished product were seized.
In addition to the criminal prosecutions there are federal asset forfeiture actions pending, including:
- 41 homes
- $2,160,776.89 dollars
- 25 vehicles