‘Sweet Leaf’ Pot Raid Also Netted Dollars, Silver Bars and Iraq Dinar
|January 28, 2012||Filled under Iraq Daily News|
BRIGHTON —A massive raid of marijuana growing operations in the metro-area this week yielded piles of American and Iraq currency, nearly 148 pounds of dry marijuana and a cluster of environmental problems, officials said today.
The so-called “Sweet Leaf” raids carried out by the North Metro Drug Task Force on 25 suspected grow houses also showed that Colorado is becoming a major source for the distribution of illegal marijuana in the country, said task force Commander Jerry Peters.
“These were homes set up in neighborhoods and many were strictly just for growing,” Peters said. “In some cases, no one was living in them. They were just grow operations.”
Much of the pot was going out of state via the U.S. Postal Service to California, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas.
“This was a major criminal enterprise,” Peters said.
Officials stressed that medical marijuana operations played little or no role in the raids. In fact, only one of the grow houses produced two medical marijuana licenses for two people and they had 25 plants.
Those plants were not seized and no arrests were made in that particular house, officials said.
“This was no crusade against medical marijuana,” said 17th Judicial District Attorney Don Quick.
In all, 16 arrest warrants were issued and a handful have yet to be served, Quick said. The suspects face a total of 69 criminal charges including racketeering and conspiracy under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, distribution of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and money laundering.
The 25 suspected grow houses included four in Brighton, one in Commerce City, one in Northglenn, one in Strasburg, four in Thornton, one in Westminster, three in unincorporated Adams County, three in Broomfield, four in Denver, one in Frederick, one in Erie and one in Breckenridge.
Seven children were in the homes during the raids. Officers also found 40 guns, 2,749 marijuana plants, 147.55 pounds of dry marijuana, over $278,000 in U.S. currency and 15 million in Iraq Dinar currency. Five silver bars were also seized, however, officials did not say what connection the silver had with the marijuana operations.
In addition, the houses had heightened levels of mold and carbon monoxide, which could lead to significant health problems, said John Martyny, associate professor at National Jewish Hospital, Department of Medicine.
The growers also used fertilizer on the marijuana plants that should only be utilized outdoors. The operations were poorly ventilated and will likely leave lingering problems for anyone else trying to live in the homes, said Martyny who researches environmental and occupational disease.
“These hazards won’t leave when the marijuana operation goes,” Martyny said.
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