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June 15, 2018
Tip Leads Sheriff’s Detectives to Illegal Marijuana Grow in Upscale Pueblo West Home

DeeJayCourt3DeeJayCourt4

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Detectives executed a search warrant today at a Pueblo West home and discovered an elaborate illegal marijuana grow operation containing 56 plants worth an estimated $93,000. State law allows only 12 marijuana plants per household.

Detectives executed the search warrant at the upscale home at 311 E. Dee Jay Court, after receiving a citizen’s tip of a possible marijuana grow at the home. Detectives found two extravagant marijuana grow rooms in the home’s basement. One room contained 31 large marijuana plants and evidence indicated plants growing in the second grow room had recently been harvested. Detectives found 25 recently harvested plants in trash bags in the basement.

The plants along with various grow equipment was seized. No arrests have been made, however additional search warrants and arrests may be forthcoming.

The home, which did not appear to have anyone living in it, also was the site of an illegal marijuana grow operation in May 2016. The home was one of five residences, including four in Pueblo West, where sheriff’s detectives executed search warrants and seized a combined estimated $1.3 million in marijuana. Seven individuals were arrested during that bust. All seven had relocated to Colorado from Florida.

Detectives are still investigating today’s grow operation and whether the 2016 bust is connected to it.

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May 23, 2018
UPDATE: Arrest Made in Armed Robberies of Two Pueblo West Stores

Booking photo of Ted Bartelli

Pueblo County Sheriff’s Detectives, with assistance from the Colorado Department of Corrections Parole Division, arrested a suspect wanted in the armed robberies of two Pueblo West stores.

Ted Bartelli, 43, was arrested at about 7:15 p.m. this evening in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Fountain. Earlier in the day, Sheriff’s Detectives obtained information from DOC Parole Division of an address in Fountain where Bartelli was to be paroled. Detectives set up surveillance at the home and located Bartelli about a quarter-mile from that residence. He was found inside the white Jeep Compass that he reportedly was seen driving Monday night after he robbed the Safeway and Walmart stores in Pueblo West.

Bartelli was taken into custody without incident. He has been booked into Pueblo County Jail on a warrant issued today for two counts of armed robbery and a separate warrant on escape from the Department of Corrections.

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the public and the media for their patience as detectives worked throughout the day to identify Bartelli as the suspect and to determine his whereabouts.

The armed robberies at Safeway, 1017 N. Market Plaza, and Walmart, 78 N. McCulloch Blvd., were among a string of three robberies reported in Pueblo West Monday night. Sheriff’s investigators are working leads on a suspect in the unrelated robbery of the Doctor’s Orders Marijuana Dispensary 749 E. Enterprise Drive, where an undisclosed amount of money and marijuana were taken.

Anyone with information about the Doctor’s Orders robbery is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (719) 583-6250 or Crime Stoppers at (719) 542-STOP.

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May 22, 2018
Sheriff’s Office Investigating String of Armed Robberies in Pueblo West

Ted Bartelli

Ted Bartelli

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a string of armed robberies that occurred Monday night at three separate locations in Pueblo West. No one was injured in any of the incidents.

Sheriff’s investigators believe the same suspect was involved in the robberies of the Safeway Store, 1017 N. Market Plaza and Walmart, 78 N. McCulloch Blvd, which occurred within 30 minutes of each other. In less than 12 hours, detectives identified a suspect in the robberies.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ted (Teddy) Bartelli, 43, on two counts of armed robbery in connection with the crimes. He also has an active escape warrant from the Department of Corrections. He is described as a white male, approximately 5-foot-7 about 140 pounds, with blonde, shoulder-length hair that he often keeps in a ponytail, scruffy facial hair and wears glasses. He also has arm tattoos.

Deputies were dispatched to Safeway at about 6:20 p.m. on a report that a man approached the customer service desk with a bag and demanded money. A clerk began putting money into the bag, however the suspect was not happy with the denomination of the bills and pulled out a gun, threatened the clerk and demanded larger bills. The suspect then grabbed the bag and left the store with an undisclosed amount of money. He ran to a nearby car wash where surveillance video showed he got into a white Jeep Compass with Colorado license plate number AFK391.

At approximately 6:45 p.m., a man matching the same description as the Safeway robber, approached a cashier in Walmart and demanded money. When the clerk didn’t respond to his demands, the man pulled out a similar handgun to that described in the Safeway robbery and pointed it at the clerk. The clerk backed away from the register and yelled for security. The suspect then left the store without any money.

A third robbery at a recreational marijuana dispensary is believed to be unrelated. Investigators are currently developing leads on a possible suspect in the armed robbery at the Doctor’s Orders Marijuana Dispensary, 749 E. Enterprise Drive. The suspect, described as a white male, wearing blue jeans, a black sweatshirt and a gray bandana over his face, came into the store at about 8:30 p.m. waving a gun and demanding money. The suspect also demanded the employees give him marijuana and marijuana products. He left the store with an undisclosed amount of money and several canisters of marijuana and marijuana products.

Anyone coming in contact with Bartelli or knows of his whereabouts or has information about the robbery at the marijuana dispensary, contact the Sheriff’s Office at (719) 583-6250 or Crime Stoppers at (719) 542-STOP.

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April 25, 2018
Two Arrested in Connection with Illegal Marijuana Grow in Pueblo West

Yuremi Alarcon-Figueroa Arian Baez

A citizen’s tip of a possible illegal marijuana grow operation at a home in Pueblo West led to the arrest of two people with ties to Cuba, after Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputies discovered more than 70 marijuana plants worth an estimated $216,000 in the residence.

Deputies responded to the home in the 1100 block of Lilac Court in Pueblo West this morning and spoke with the male resident, Arian Baez, 29, asking if he was growing marijuana. Baez admitted to deputies he was growing marijuana but said he had a license to do so. Baez invited deputies into his home to view the grow operation, which he said was for personal use. Deputies found 72 marijuana plants in various stages of growth in two rooms in the basement and in the garage. Colorado law limits the number of marijuana plants per household at 12.

Baez and his wife, Yuremi Alarcon-Figueroa, 27, were each arrested for possession with intent to distribute more than 50 pounds of marijuana (18-18-406) (Felony 1) and possession of more than 30 marijuana plants (18-18-406 3) (Felony 3). Both were booked into Pueblo County Jail. Deputies seized all but 12 of the marijuana plants.

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February 28, 2018
Burning Marijuana Leads Deputies to Illegal Grow in Pueblo West

Stephen Robert  Young Jr.

Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a 28-year-old man and seized nearly 100 marijuana plants after discovering an illegal grow operation at a Pueblo West home.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence in the 1300 block of W. Ferncliff Court Monday afternoon when a citizen reported seeing a trash barrel on fire and smelling a strong odor of marijuana coming from the area.

When deputies arrived at the home, they contacted a woman who confirmed her husband was growing marijuana on the property and he currently was burning marijuana leaves in the trash barrel. The woman told deputies the marijuana was for her, but her husband tended to the plants. The woman then led deputies to a detached garage where her husband was located. The man, identified as Stephen Robert Young Jr., allowed deputies inside the garage, where he showed them four separate rooms containing various amounts of marijuana plants.

Deputies then exited the garage and requested a search warrant. Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives executed the search warrant and seized 98 marijuana plants, assorted grow equipment and other equipment typically used in butane hash oil production. Young did not have a license to grow marijuana.

Young was arrested for three drug felonies: cultivation of marijuana (30 or more plants, 18-18-406), possession of marijuana with intent to distribute (over 50 pounds, 18-18-406) and extraction of marijuana (inherently hazardous substance, 18-18-406.6). He was booked into Pueblo County Jail. The woman was not arrested.

During the investigation, deputies learned Young is on probation in the Fourth Judicial District in El Paso County for marijuana-related convictions out of Kansas.

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October 10, 2017
Four with Ties to Cuba Arrested in Illegal Marijuana Grow Operations in Pueblo County

58thlane

quailroad3

Pueblo County Sheriff’s Detectives arrested four people, all with ties to Cuba, this morning after conducting operations at two related illegal marijuana grow sites in Pueblo County. More than 365 marijuana plants, worth an estimated street value of $1 million, were seized along with five weapons and various types of grow equipment following simultaneously conducted searches at a home in Eastern Pueblo County and at a second residence in Northern Pueblo County.

Detectives, with assistance from DEA and FBI Safe Streets, executed search warrants early this morning at a home in the 1800 block of 58th Lane and a second property in the 5000 block of Quail Road near Midway Ranch after receiving tips of possible illegal marijuana cultivation operations being conducted at the sites.

At the 58th Lane residence, detectives found three indoor commercial-type grows which contained a combined 85 mature marijuana plants. The grows were in separate locations and each was modified with elaborate lighting and irrigation systems to specifically grow marijuana. Three people were arrested at this location: Jose Alberto Gonzalez, 31; Sergio Luis Martinez-Suarez, 44; and Yoandris Bacallao-Ramos, 40. All three were arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, cultivation of marijuana and conspiracy. They have been booked into Pueblo County Jail.

At the Quail Road location, detectives discovered two large outdoor grows, including one that was fenced in and hidden under a large fabric awning. These two grows yielded a combined 283 mature plants. Francisco Jose Sanchez, 50, was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, cultivation of marijuana, conspiracy, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and special offender. He was booked into Pueblo County Jail.

Detectives believe all the suspects know each other and the two grow operations are related. The marijuana was believed to have been grown here and processed and shipped out of Colorado for sale.

“This is another example of people coming from out-of-state to grow marijuana illegally to then sell it on the black market,” said Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor. “What’s concerning to me is they are infiltrating nearly every corner of our county with this type of illegal activity.”

Taylor added the illegal grows are damaging to the environment and hazardous to the area due to the type of chemicals used for fertilizer and the extensive alterations made to electrical and watering systems to grow the plants.

Today’s operations are the second and third sizeable busts made by the Sheriff’s Office in Pueblo County in the past seven days. On October 2, detectives arrested nine people, including a juvenile and seized more than 800 marijuana plants in various stages of growth along with an estimated 500 pounds of dried product from a field in the 7800 block of Colorado Highway 96. Only one of the nine suspects was a U.S. Citizen, the others were Mexican citizens.

 

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October 4, 2017
Nine Arrested, $3.9 Million in Illegal Marijuana Seized in Western Pueblo County Grow Operation

7000 Highway96 grow

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office conducted a major illegal marijuana cultivation bust Monday in the 7800 block of Colorado Highway 96 West, west of Pueblo. Multiple Sheriff’s Deputies and Detectives along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, arrested nine people, including a juvenile, following the discovery of two significant illegal marijuana grow fields located on private property. Deputies seized more than 800 marijuana plants in various stages of growth along with an estimated 500 pounds of recently harvested and dried marijuana. The combined estimated street value of the grow is $3.9 million.

The Sheriff’s Office received information of a possible illegal marijuana grow on a 40-acre parcel of property. Patrol Deputies confirmed the information received that there was marijuana being grown on the property. Detectives conducted surveillance and checked with licensing entities in Pueblo County and the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and it was determined no legal license was obtained. Attempts to contact the listed property owner have been unsuccessful and authorities continue to investigate the possible connection and/or involvement of the property owner. Evidence gleaned from surveillance confirmed suspicions of a clandestine grow.

A search warrant was obtained and executed Monday morning. Deputies, detectives, members of the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and ICE, surrounded the two grow fields when several individuals took off running from the area. Authorities quickly apprehended nine individuals, all believed to have connections to Mexico and one of which was a previously deported felon who will now face additional federal charges. Deputies searched several hours for the three other suspects, who fled on foot into a nearby wooded area and have not been apprehended. A Reverse 9-1-1 call went out to residents in the area urging them to be aware of any suspicious activity or individuals.

In a search of the property, deputies also found guns, several make-shift shelters, drying tables, drying lines, packaging materials as well as an elaborate irrigation system similar to those found in previous illegal outdoor grow operations that had cartel ties. There also was a complex watering system which included a well, operated by a large gas generator, a holding pond and a 300-gallon water storage tank.

Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor said, “We uncovered this particular grow right at harvest and took hundreds of pounds of illegal marijuana out of circulation. It is concerning to me the location of the grow. These types of operations have been typically found in isolated locales in our mountains. These suspects are becoming more and more brazen in bringing them closer to the city of Pueblo.”

All nine individuals were arrested each for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, cultivation of marijuana and conspiracy. Those arrested in Monday’s bust were:

• Juan Sanchez-Rodrigues, 21.
• Jose Beltran-Valdez, 64.
• Lorenzo Rodriguez-Paredes, 45.
• Luis Ramirez-Rueda, 39.
• Luis Moreno-Garibay, 24.
• Ramon Hernandez-Cruz, 26.
• Tomas Sanchez-Vasquez, 49.
• Eugenio Ramirez-Arreola, 42.

The eight adults were booked into the Pueblo County Jail. The 16-year-old juvenile male and only U.S. Citizen of the nine, was booked into the Pueblo Youth Services Center. His name was not released as he is a juvenile. The investigation is ongoing.

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September 27, 2017
Two Arrested in Illegal Marijuana Grow, Hash Oil Operation at Pueblo West Home

500 block Raymont1

500 block Raymont

Two men were arrested and a third is facing possible charges in connection with an illegal marijuana grow and butane hash oil operation discovered at a Pueblo West home Tuesday by members of the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations/Narcotics Unit.

Detectives went to the home in the 500 block of N. Raymont Drive on the report of a possible marijuana grow at the residence. Detectives contacted the residents of the home, who were very cooperative and allowed deputies to check the legality and quantity of marijuana plants in the home.

In a brief search of the home, detectives discovered 146 marijuana plants growing in the garage and in three separate rooms in the basement. The number of plants found in the home was well above the limit the occupants were allowed. The basement also had been heavily modified to accommodate the large marijuana grow.

In addition to the grow operation, detectives discovered the residents were actively manufacturing hash oil using butane and commercial-grade extraction equipment. Detectives executed a search warrant and conducted a more thorough search of the home.

Detectives arrested Reinaldo Castillo, 53, and Jose Castillo, 52, each for conspiracy, unlawful extraction of marijuana concentrate, possession with intent to manufacture or distribute marijuana or marijuana concentrate and cultivation of marijuana. Both men have been booked into Pueblo County jail.

Charges for a third man, Sandalio Cardenas, 59, are being referred to the Pueblo County 10th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

The investigation is ongoing.

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September 13, 2017
Pueblo West Man Arrested After Firing Several Shots at Deputies, Nearby Residences

weapons recovered

The swift response and quick actions by Pueblo County Sheriff’s deputies led to the early morning arrest of a Pueblo West man, who fired shots at deputies and nearby residences causing more than $10,000 in damages. No one was injured in the incident.

Benjamin Chavez, 43, was arrested for three counts of attempted first-degree murder on a peace officer, attempted first-degree murder, criminal attempt, illegal discharge of a firearm, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.

“This easily could’ve had a very different outcome due to the reckless disregard this suspect had by indiscriminately shooting in a residential area and at our deputies” said Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor. “I commend the deputies for their quick thinking and putting their active-shooter training to use to get this resolved in a peaceful manner.”

Deputies responded to the area of Rustic Drive and N. Canvas Drive at about 3 a.m., shortly after being dispatched on a report of shots fired. When deputies arrived, they spoke to a witness who said he was awakened by the sound of gunshots. The witnesses said when he went outside his home to investigate where the shots were coming from, he heard a shot hit the ground near him. The witness said he then ran back inside his home.

As the two deputies were investigating the incident, they heard multiple gunshots and heard and saw evidence of several rounds hitting the ground near them. The deputies sought cover behind a structure in the 500 block of N. Canvas Drive, where they subsequently heard another estimated 15 to 20 more shots fired. The deputies were able to determine the shots were coming from the residence in the 1100 block of Rustic Drive.

The Sheriff’s Office SWAT team was called out and nearby residents were notified for safety reasons via a reverse 911 call of the police action in the area. Pueblo County School District 70 officials also were notified due to school bus routes being in the vicinity of the incident. After a brief standoff, Chavez walked out of the yard at about 5 a.m. and was taken into custody without incident. He was the only resident in the home.

Deputies later executed a search warrant on the property and found nine guns, including two assault rifles, and various types of ammunition in locations throughout the home and yard. Deputies also discovered two guns near a residential greenhouse that contained numerous marijuana plants.

In searching the surrounding area, deputies found multiple shell casings in the backyard of Chavez’s home. There also was damage discovered to a nearby home and several vehicles in the area, all believed to have been caused by the gunshots. The damage has been estimated at $10,900.

The investigation is ongoing.

 

 

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September 1, 2017
More than 7,400 Marijuana Plants Found in Illegal Grow Fields Near Rye

mjgrowaug2017c

More than 7,400 Marijuana Plants Found in Illegal Grow Fields Near Rye
Sheriff’s Office has eradicated 27,644 plants in area since 2012

Pueblo, CO: The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Forest Service, with assistance from three other agencies, discovered and eradicated more than 7,400 marijuana plants Wednesday from two illegal grow fields located northwest of the town of Rye. No arrests have been made.

Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives, SWAT team members and officials from the U.S. Forest Service, DEA, ICE-Enforcement Removal Operations and Homeland Security Immigration, found 7,438 marijuana plants, assorted grow equipment and make-shift shelters on rugged land located on both private property and San Isabel National Forest land.

The operation was the second, 7,400-plus plant illegal grow discovered in just two months in fields near the town of Rye. On June 30, detectives found 7,406 marijuana plants growing on an upper and lower field near the Huckleberry Hills area.

Since August 2012, Pueblo County Sheriff’s deputies have removed more 27,644 marijuana plants from six illegal marijuana grow fields found on or near San Isabel National Forest property in the past five years.

“As we continue to find these large illegal marijuana grows, it’s an indication the black market maintains a strong presence in Colorado,” said Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor. “This type of activity is not only illegal, but it is detrimental to our mountain environment. We will continue to seek out and eradicate these operations until those responsible for the grows realize it is against the law.”

In Wednesday’s bust, a tip from hikers led investigators to the area of the grow operations that were located on property near North Muddy Creek and Little Saint Charles Creek. Detectives believe both fields were being operated by the same individuals. Detectives found 5,887 plants on private property and another 1,551 plants on U.S. Forest Service property.

 

The Sheriff’s Office discovered the first illegal marijuana grows in the San Isabel National Forest in August 2012, dismantling more than 9,400 plants in two fields. Two weeks later on August 31, 2012, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Captain Leide DeFusco and Retired Pueblo Police Captain John Barger died when their plane went down while conducting air surveillance for other possible marijuana grows in the San Isabel National Forest.

In October 2015, another grow consisting of 2,400 plants was found near Millset Trail in the San Isabel National Forest and in July 2016, 1,000 marijuana plants were found growing on private property near the Table Top Mountain Area.

The first four grows discovered are believed to be connected to drug trafficking organizations based in Mexico. Detectives are still investigating whether the last two grows are connected to the previous operations.

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