(Left to right) Gary Copeland, Vanessa Bebeau, Mark Harry
In less than 12 hours, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office confiscated nearly $1 million worth of illegal marijuana from three home grow operations in Pueblo West on Tuesday (April 26, 2016).
Between the three busts, deputies arrested six people, seized more than 820 marijuana plants, 90 pounds of dried marijuana and hundreds of thousands of dollars in grow equipment and supplies.
Two of the grows discovered Tuesday afternoon by Sheriff’s Narcotics Investigators are related and involve local residents. Investigators executed a search warrant at 301 W. Mangrum Drive, and found 120 plants in various stages of growth in several rooms throughout the home. Vanessa Bebeau, 32, was arrested in connection with that grow.
The home had an indoor swimming pool which investigators believe was being used to irrigate the plants that were being grown using the hydroponic method. Hydroponics involves growing the plants in water rather than soil.
Mold was visible on interior and exterior walls of the home, prompting the Pueblo City-County Health Department to condemn the home for health reasons. Pueblo Regional Building also deemed the home unsafe due to electrical alterations made at the residence.
While investigating the grow on Mangrum Drive, deputies discovered evidence of a possible second grow at a home at 647 Las Verdes Drive. A search warrant was executed at that home, where 100 plants in various stages of growth and about 40 pounds of dried marijuana were found in three different rooms in the home. There also were freshly cut plants found drying in another room of the home that investigators believe came from the Mangrum Drive grow. Arrested at the Las Verdes home were Gary Copeland, 60, and Mark Harry, 64. Copeland is Bebeau’s step-father.
Earlier in the morning, Sheriff’s Investigators discovered 609 plants and 20 pounds of dried marijuana in a home at 1473 N. Dailey Drive in Pueblo West. The plant count was the largest found to date in Pueblo County. A husband, wife and their adult son were arrested in connection with that growing operation. Arrested were Douglas Radosti, 47, Stephanie Radosti, 52, and Warren Radosti, 23. Douglas Radosti and Warren Radosti are originally from Florida. Stephanie Radosti is originally from Tennessee.
Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor credited concerned citizens who are reporting possible illegal grows to his office. “The credit goes to the community for getting involved and saying they are not going to put up with this in their neighborhood,” he said.
Since March 14, 2016, Sheriff’s deputies have arrested 22 people and seized nearly 4,600 marijuana plants from illegal grow operations at 15 homes in Pueblo County. Fourteen of the homes are in Pueblo West and one was in South Pueblo County.
April 26, 2016
A Pueblo West couple and their adult son were arrested early Tuesday morning (April 26, 2016) after Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputies seized 609 marijuana plants and another 50 pounds of dried marijuana from their home in the largest illegal home grow found to date in Pueblo County.
Douglas John Radosti, 47; Stephanie Frances Radosti, 52, and Warren Alexander Radosti, 23 were arrested after deputies executed a search warrant at their home at 1473 N. Dailey Drive. All three were arrested on the following charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana; marijuana cultivation and evidence tampering. Douglas Radosti and Warren Radosti are originally from Florida. Stephanie Radosti is from Tennessee.
Deputies were tipped off to the grow by neighbors, who complained of a strong odor of marijuana coming from the home, visible major alterations to the home’s electrical system and increased traffic from a number of out-of-state vehicles to the home.
Patrol Deputies went to the home at about 7 p.m. Monday (April 25, 2016) to check on the suspected grow, when Douglas Radosti told deputies he had a medical marijuana license and was allowed to have 18 marijuana plants. When deputies asked if they could verify the plant count, Radosti refused to let them into the home.
Deputies left the home but returned at about 1 a.m. Tuesday with a warrant to search the residence.
In searching the home, deputies found several rooms in the basement of the home with evidence of extensive marijuana grow operations to include grow lights, plastic growing bins and recently installed central air conditioning unit.
Deputies located 609 plant roots from freshly cut marijuana plants. The plants were found in large trash bags in the basement and the back yard of the home. Deputies also found a tote filled with marijuana buds in the garage of the home. Douglas Radosti told deputies that after reading in the newspaper about a bust of an elaborate grow at a home in Pueblo West on Friday (April 22, 2016), he started cutting his plants and throwing them out the back door. Deputies determined based on the freshness of the plants, they appeared to have been cut just prior to the search of the home.
The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office now has seized more than 4,372 marijuana plants in 13 separate illegal home grows since March 14, 2016. There have been 19 people arrested and hundreds of thousands of dollars in growing equipment and supplies seized from the 12 homes in Pueblo West and one in South Pueblo County. Sheriff’s officials have been tipped off by concerned citizens to the majority of the home grow operations uncovered in the past six weeks, including three in the last seven days.
April 25, 2016
An expensive, commercial-grade, high-quality marijuana home grow and hash oil operation was uncovered Friday (April 22, 2016) by Pueblo County Sheriff’s Narcotics Investigators at a home in Pueblo West. The bust marked the 11th by the Sheriff’s Office in just over three weeks and the second in the past three days.
Eric Arroyo, 59, was arrested Friday in connection with the sophisticated marijuana home grow that utilized the hydroponic method of growing, after sheriff’s investigators executed a search warrant at a residence at 1382 Kiva Drive. Arroyo faces charges of marijuana cultivation and unlawful extraction of marijuana concentrate.
Detectives seized 170 marijuana plants in various stages of growth they found in the home’s basement growing in three separate rooms under high-powered lights, industrial strength air conditioners, sophisticated irrigation, temperature and timing systems and recorded classical music playing in two of the rooms. The hydroponic system utilizes a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water instead of soil. The result of the growing method was a very high-grade marijuana plant, according to investigators.
Detectives also found a butane hash oil operation, utilizing commercial-grade ovens and extraction equipment set up in the garage, along with several boxes of glass jars and packaging materials, investigators believe Arroyo was transporting the marijuana and hash oil out of state for sale. Investigators estimated the value of the equipment in the operation at more than $200,000.
Arroyo, who has ties to Florida and California, did not have any paperwork to substantiate a legal grow operation at the home he has rented for two years. He is the 14th person with ties to Florida to be arrested for an illegal marijuana grow by the Sheriff’s Office since March 30.
Pueblo County Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Bureau Chief David J. Lucero said similar to several of the other operations discovered recently, a tip from a concerned resident led investigators to the home. “We continue to get information on possible grows from concerned citizens and we will continue to look into those one-by-one. Unfortunately, I’m afraid this is a beginning of a very long road,” he said. “These people from out-of-state are coming to Colorado and trying to take advantage of loopholes in our laws, but these are all illegal grows.”
Lucero labeled Friday’s grow operation as “the most elaborate” found in Pueblo County thus far. “This grow operation was producing very high-yield, high-quality plants. We have evidence this grow was going to be exported outside of Colorado.”
Lucero said there could be several additional arrests related to this grow forthcoming. The investigation into the operation is ongoing.
April 21, 2016
Pueblo, CO: Pueblo County Sheriff’s Narcotics Deputies found nearly 170 marijuana plants and approximately $80,000 in lighting, heating and ventilation equipment in an illegal marijuana home grow operation discovered in Pueblo West this week.
Detectives confiscated the elaborate growing equipment from the home at 612 N. Limon Drive on Wednesday night (April 20, 2016) and issued an arrest warrant for the homeowner, Ryan Reuting, 28. Reuting moved to Pueblo West in April 2015, but also maintains a residence in Denver.
The bust marks the 10th illegal marijuana grow operation found by Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office in three weeks. All but one of the homes was located in Pueblo West. Thirteen people have been arrested in connection to the grows and all have been out-of-state residents.
In the most recent bust, Sheriff’s Detectives were tipped off of a possible illegal home grow operation at 612 N. Limon Drive following a grass fire near the residence on April 14, 2016. The fire consumed 2 acres of grass and damaged a fence.
While investigators were looking into the cause of the fire, it was later determined the transformer blew because it was pulling too much electricity from 612 N. Limon Drive. Investigators found extra equipment connected to the home’s electrical box. Deputies attempted to contact the homeowner, identified as Reuting, to inform him power would be shut off to the home due to the transformer fire. When deputies approached the home, the reported they smelled a strong odor of marijuana and found a partial medical marijuana license in a window. No contact was made with the Reuting.
Sheriff’s Detectives obtained a search warrant and returned to the home on Tuesday (April 19, 2016), to determine if there was a legal medical marijuana grow at the home. Detectives found 49 budding plants and another 117 freshly harvested plants in a three-car garage and in portions of the home. The garage was set up with a commercial heating and ventilation system along with extensive lighting and irrigation systems. Detectives learned Reuting’s monthly electric bill was over $1,500, and the home was consuming approximately five times the amount of electricity of an average single-family residence.
Reuting showed detectives partial paperwork for a medical marijuana license, which permitted him to have the 49 plants. Detectives did not take any plants while they researched Reuting’s medical marijuana license.
While investigating the license, detectives learned that Reuting had another residence in Denver where he may have had an illegal grow. Detectives contacted Denver Police, who went to Reuting’s home Wednesday and found 100 marijuana plants and 20 pounds of dried marijuana.
After learning what Denver Police found at Reunting’s Denver home, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Detectives executed a second search warrant at 612 N. Limon Drive, Wednesday night (April 20, 2016). Reuting was not at the home at the time of the search. The 49 marijuana plants also had been removed from the home prior to the second search. Detectives did seize lights, fans and irrigating equipment from the home.
Anyone with information on Reuting’s whereabouts is asked to call the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office at 583-6250 or Crimestoppers at 542-STOP (542-7867).
April 15, 2016
An abandoned 9-1-1 call Thursday night (April 14, 2016) was traced to a Pueblo West home where Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputies discovered an illegal marijuana grow and a butane hash oil lab involving Florida residents.
One person has been arrested on felony drug charges after 164 marijuana plants and another 194 starter plants, along with an inactive butane hash oil operation were found in the home at 1131 Greenbrier Drive. The residents told deputies they had moved to Pueblo West two months ago from Florida.
Erica Burch, 31, was arrested for cultivation of marijuana; extraction of marijuana concentrate using inherently dangerous substance and possession with intent to manufacture, distribute marijuana or marijuana concentrate.
Deputies responded to the home at about 7:15 p.m. after dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call with no response from the caller. When deputies arrived at the home, they saw a man walking outside of a detached garage on the property. When the man saw deputies, he went back into the garage and closed the door.
Deputies went to the home and contacted Burch and told her they were there to investigate the 9-1-1 call. Burch said there was not an emergency at the home. Deputies asked who the man was in the garage, Burch said there was nobody out there. Deputies attempted to speak with the man, who opened the door to the garage only enough to get out, but quickly closed and locked it. As deputies were questioning the man, he took off running from the home. The man has not been contacted by Sheriff’s Deputies.
Burch allowed deputies into the garage where they found the marijuana plants, the starter plants along with a 150-gallon water tub filled with a dark liquid and several 5-gallon buckets filled with marijuana leaves. Deputies executed a search warrant on the property and located an inactive butane hash oil system in a closet in the bedroom. Deputies asked Burch if they were growing marijuana and she told them “It’s legal, isn’t it?” None of the residents of the home had paperwork to substantiate a medical marijuana grow.
Burch’s three children, ages 7, 3 and 12-months also were living in the home. The children have been placed with a family member who was staying at the home.
Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Bureau Chief David J. Lucero credited the proactive find of this illegal grow to great police work performed by studious patrol deputies. “Unfortunately, I fear these elaborate illegal marijuana grows are just the beginning of what will continue to come to our community and to Colorado. These grows are not slowing down and we will continue to address them, one by one,” Lucero said.
This is the eighth illegal marijuana grow found in Pueblo County involving Florida residents, who recently moved to Colorado, and the ninth illegal grow within the past two weeks. Thirteen people have been arrested, including five people originally from Cuba. All the homes, with the exception of one, have been in Pueblo West.
Charges are also being reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office on another illegal marijuana grow found at a home in Pueblo West involving a man and woman, both Russian immigrants, but who recently moved to Colorado from New York.
April 14, 2016
(Top left: Anaili Garcia Toledo, Top Right: Eladio Hernandez Ponce; Bottom left: Elio Hernandez Delgado)
Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested three people Wednesday, April 13, 2016, on felony warrants in connection with an illegal marijuana grow operation discovered last week at a home in South Pueblo County.
Elio Hernandez Delg ado, 45; Eladio Hernandez Ponce, 36, and Anaili Garcia Toledo, 32, were served with the warrants at the home where they had been living at 6801 Greenhorn Creek Drive in the Hatchett Ranch area. The three were taken into custody without incident. They each face charges of cultivation of marijuana 18-18-406 (3) (a).
The arrest warrants were issued for Hernandez Delgado, Hernandez Ponce and Garcia Toledo on Tuesday in connection with the seizure of 180 marijuana plants found growing at 6801 Greenhorn Creek Drive. All three individuals are originally from Cuba and had recently been living in Florida, before moving to Colorado. One of the residents had purchased the home in February.
Acting on a tip about a possible illegal grow at the home, detectives executed a search warrant on April 5, and found the marijuana plants in various stages of growth, along with extravagant lighting systems, numerous planting supplies and construction materials that detectives believed were going to be used to expand the grow operation.
When contacted last week, the residents told detectives they were operating a medical marijuana grow but had no paperwork to substantiate that claim.
Twelve people, all from Florida, have been arrested in seven separate illegal marijuana grow operations uncovered by Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office since March 30. Five of the individuals arrested are originally from Cuba.
April 12, 2016
Two Russian immigrants, who recently moved to Pueblo West from New York, are the latest out-of-state residents to be busted by the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office for having an illegal marijuana grow.
Olga Berina, 25, and Evegnly Groshikov, 43, each face charges of illegal cultivation of marijuana after deputies found 79 mature marijuana plants growing in the home they have been renting since January at 1594 W. Tejon Avenue. No arrests were made but deputies have referred the case to the Pueblo County District Attorney’s office for the filing of felony drug charges.
Sheriff’s Deputies said they believe Berina and Groshikov were growing marijuana plants here with the intent of transporting them to New York for sale. The plants are estimated to be worth $67,000 to $268,000, depending on where they are sold.
The operation was discovered after deputies received a tip of a possible illegal grow due to recent suspicious activity. Deputies went to the home Saturday night (April 9, 2016) and attempted to contact the residents of the home but were unsuccessful. Deputies returned early Sunday morning and first spoke with a man, who said he and two other men, recently arrived from New York and were there just visiting Groshikov and Berina. He said they knew nothing about the marijuana grow.
Deputies spoke with Berina and Groshikov, who required translation because he does not speak English. Berina admitted she and Gorshikov were growing marijuana but said it was for personal use. She said they were using the marijuana for Gorshikov because he suffers from neck and back pain. Neither resident could provide paperwork to substantiate a medicinal grow.
Berina and Gorshikov agreed to show deputies the marijuana grows. Deputies found 77 mature plants growing in a detached garage that had been installed with special lighting and a water filtration system. Two additional mature plants were found in the home. Deputies also discovered carbon dioxide canisters in the home along with a ventilation system that was rigged up to the fireplace chimney and a waste water system that drained into the home’s bath tub. The electrical system in the home had been altered so much, a Pueblo Regional Building inspector deemed it a hazard and determined the home unsafe to occupy.
Sheriff’s Deputies confiscated 67 of the 79 plants, allowing the residents to keep 12 plants (6 per person), as permitted by state law for a personal medicinal grow. While removing confiscated plants from the home, deputies discovered paperwork belonging to an individual, no longer living in the home but who was in the process of applying for a medical grow license. Berina told deputies the man had been a previous tenant at the home but had moved prior to their arrival, leaving behind assorted growing and cultivation equipment.
Sunday’s incident is the eighth illegal marijuana grow discovered by the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office since March 30, 2016, all involving individuals who moved to Colorado from another state. Seven of the grow operations involved Florida residents, including two homes where the occupants were originally from Cuba.
Nine arrests have been made and nearly 2,400 illegal marijuana plants and several weapons have been seized by the Sheriff’s Office in the eight busts, which include seven homes in Pueblo West and one in South Pueblo County in the Hatchett Ranch area.
Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor said his office will continue to work to eliminate illegal grow operations in Pueblo County. “If you are complying with Amendment 64 and the rules and regulations of Pueblo County, then you have nothing to worry about,” he said. “But if you’re not complying, then you need to worry.”
Taylor praised citizens who are stepping up to report suspicious activity believed to be related to illegal growing operations. Three of the past eight illegal grow finds were reported to authorities by tipsters.
“This is not something that we can do alone,” Taylor said of searching for illegal operations. “We need people to be alert and notify us if they see suspicious activity at a home. If they call us, we’ll go check it out.”
To report any suspicious activity believed to be related to any illegal drug operations, contact the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office at 583-6250 or Crimestoppers at 542-STOP or 542-7867.
April 11, 2016
Austin Shelman Mitchell Elfert
Two Pueblo West men were arrested Friday, April 8, 2016, after one of them used a social media website to broker a deal to sell LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) to an undercover detective from the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations/Narcotics unit.
Acting on a Crimestoppers tip, the undercover detective contacted Mitchell Elfert, 19, via his social media website, where he was advertising the sale of “tabz” of LSD at “5 for $20.” The website also advertised the sale of Ecstasy and marijuana. The detective asked Elfert to meet at an undisclosed site where the officer planned to purchase 100 tabs of LSD. Elfert arrived at the pre-arranged site with a friend, who had driven him to that location.
Elfert met with the detective and told him he buys LSD from “the deep web”, which Elfert described as an online site. He said the tabs are delivered to him by U.S. Mail. Elfert admitted to the detective he also sells marijuana and asked the detective if he had any marijuana he could buy from him because he was having a hard time finding some in Pueblo West.
Elfert sold the detective 50 tabs or .65 ounces of LSD for $200. Once the transaction was completed, Elfert and the driver of the vehicle, Austin Shelman, 18, were taken into custody. As the detective searched Elfert for any other contraband, he admitted he had more “stuff” in the back seat of the car. The detective spoke with Shelman, who agreed to allow a search of his vehicle. Seven tabs of LSD and some individually wrapped bags of marijuana packaged for sale were found in the vehicle. Shelman told the detective Elfert asked him for a ride to sell some LSD. Shelman said he frequently drives Elfert to sell LSD and marijuana. He said Elfert would give him gas money in exchange for the rides.
Elfert was arrested on the following felony drug charges:
Possession with Intent to Distribution of a Schedule I Substance (LSD) 18-18-405 (1), (2), © (I) (A); Distribution of a Schedule I Substance (LSD) 18-18-405 (1), (2), (c), (I) (A)
Possession Schedule I (LSD) 18-18-403.5 (1) (2) (a);
Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana 18-18-406
Shelman was arrested on the following felony drug charges:
Distribution of a Schedule I Controlled Substance 18-18-405 (1) (2) (c) (I) (A);
Conspiracy to Distribute a Schedule I Controlled Substance 18-2-201.
April 8, 2016
Illegal marijuana plants and alterations made to electrical system found at home in South Pueblo County
Pueblo County’s Special Investigations/Narcotics Deputies on Tuesday (April 5, 2016) executed its seventh search warrant in less than a week for an illegal marijuana grow operation involving Florida residents.
Acting on a tip about a possible illegal marijuana grow, Narcotics Deputies initiated the search warrant at a home at 6801 Greenhorn Creek Drive in the Hatchett Ranch area south of Pueblo, and found 180 marijuana plants in various stages of growth.
Deputies discovered an extravagant lighting system in the home occupied by four adults, all originally from Cuba, but who recently moved to the area from Miami, Florida. The house was owned by one of the residents, who had purchased it in February.
Deputies found numerous planting supplies and construction materials they believe were to be used to expand the operation. Based on the amount of materials discovered in the home, deputies believe the operation could’ve been easily expanded by four times the plant count found in the home. Residents told deputies they were operating a medical marijuana grow but had no paperwork to substantiate the claim.
In searching the home, deputies also found alterations made to the home’s electrical system that were not up to Pueblo County Building Code. The power to the basement area was shut off until the system can be repaired.
No arrests were made but deputies have referred the case to the District Attorney’s Office for the filing of felony drug charges of illegal cultivation of marijuana (18-18-406) (3) (a) on three of the residents: Eladio Ponce Hernandez, 36; Anaili Garcia Toledo, 32; and Elio Hernandez Delgado, 45. A fourth person living in the home is not believed to be involved in the growing operation.
Since March 30, 2016, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit has seized more than 2,300 illegally grown marijuana plants from seven separate homes, including six in Pueblo West and one in South Pueblo County. Nine men, all originally from Florida, have been arrested in connection with those grows.
Seven of the men arrested during an operation conducted by the Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Agency on March 30, 2016, all knew each other. Authorities believe the men were growing marijuana and making butane hash oil here and transporting it to Florida for sale.
In a separate incident on March 31, 2016, deputies arrested two men, originally from Cuba but who had recently moved here from Florida, after finding 127 plants and additional materials to expand the operation at the Pueblo West home they were renting.
An investigation into whether there is a connection between the individuals involved in the March 31, and April 5 busts is ongoing.
April 1, 2016
Adriel Trujillo Daniel Leosbel Ledesma Quintana
Members of Pueblo County Sheriff’s Special Investigations and Narcotic Unit arrested two Florida men Thursday, March 31, 2016, for having an illegal marijuana grow operation at the home they were renting in Pueblo West. The bust was the second in two days involving Florida residents, who had recently moved to Colorado and were operating an illegal grow operation.
On March 31, 2016, Sheriff’s Narcotics Investigators arrested Adriel Trujillo Daniel, 28, and Leosbel Ledesma Quintana, 41, each on a felony drug charge after finding 127 marijuana plants and at least $100,000 in marijuana grow supplies in a home that was under renovation for what was believed to become a larger grow operation. Daniel and Quintana are originally from Cuba and most recently were living in Miami, Florida. They had been living in Pueblo West for less than two weeks and did not appear to have any employment ties to the area.
An observant Pueblo West resident alerted Sheriff’s Deputies of a possible grow operation at the home, located at 347 S. Hidalgo Drive, after noticing suspicious major renovation work being done on the home. The doors to the double-car garage and carport area were enclosed with siding material for what was believed to become a grow warehouse. Additionally, there were two central-air conditioning units, exhaust fans and security cameras recently installed at the home.
When deputies contacted Quintana, Daniel and a third man at the home on Hidalgo Drive, they told deputies they were starting a medical marijuana grow operation. None of the men had paperwork to substantiate such an operation. Narcotics investigators, acting on a search warrant, found the 127 immature plants growing in the basement under an elaborate lighting system. There also was materials typically used in the production of marijuana grows located through the residence, along with alterations to the home’s electrical system.
Daniel and Quintana were arrested for illegal cultivation of marijuana (18-18-406) (3) (a). The third man was not arrested. Investigators believe Daniel and Quintana were planning to expand the marijuana growing operation and eventually transport and sell the product in Florida.
The tipster who reported the suspicious activity at the Hidalgo Drive home said media reports about the illegal grow operation uncovered in Pueblo West on March 30, 2016, prompted the call to authorities.
Pueblo County Undersheriff JR Hall encouraged residents to be alert and report any suspicious activity that may be signs of potential illegal marijuana grows occurring in their neighborhood.
Investigators do not believe the March 31, 2016, bust is connected to the Florida syndicate operation the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office and Drug Enforcement Administration officials uncovered on March 30, 2016. In that operation, more than 1,900 illegally grown marijuana plants worth an estimated $7.6 million and $250,000 in butane hash-oil production equipment were seized from five homes in Pueblo West. Seven men were arrested in that operation. All had recently moved from Florida to Colorado and they all knew each other.
Since mid-March, the Sheriff’s Office has executed search warrants at seven homes in Pueblo West, arrested 10 individuals and seized more than 2,100 marijuana plants, along with equipment and supplies used in the production of butane hash-oil.
To report any suspicious activity believed to be related to any illegal drug operations, contact the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office at 583-6250.