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Largest drug bust since legalization: DEA, Colorado Police seize thousands of pounds of marijuana, arrest 74 suspects

July 1, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Largest drug bust since legalization: DEA, Colorado Police seize thousands of pounds of marijuana, arrest 74 suspects

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Colorado’s attorney general, Denver Police, and the DEA collaborated on a major drug bust dubbed “Operation Toker Poker” involving thousands of pounds of weed produced in Colorado to be sold out of state.

In total, the operation resulted in seventy-four indictments and 43 people arrests made in the multi-state plot as the hunt continues for an additional 19.

“Operation Toker Poker” is the most extensive drug bust in Colorado since legalization took effect. Some of the suspects went to high school together and frequently played poker together.

The network operated across several states including Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Ohio, 9News.com reported.

Authorities said that the suspects took advantage of Colorado’s legalized marijuana laws to make money in other states.

Many of the defendants came from out of state and moved to Colorado, acting as marijuana caregivers and building false businesses to launder the cash, which averaged $200,000 per month.

Operation Toker Power suspects by Allison Sylte on Scribd

The purported dealers were running illicit grow operations out of their houses. Additionally, residents in the area may have been exposed to hazardous materials.

One of the 33 homes searched had a grow operation and is positioned right next to a school.

“It’s the damage caused to the homes, the mold and pesticides aren’t regulated. If you go to the regulated legal grow, they take steps to mitigate those things… an illegal grow does not,” Denver Police Department Deputy Chief David Quinones stated.

Some of the suspects tracked down investors, some of whom are high-profile in the community who were tricked to believe they were financing a legal grow enterprise.

In sum, 2,600 plants were confiscated with 4,000 pounds of weed.

“When you think the Denver Police and the DEA are going after users, I can tell you, after 30 years, we don’t care about users, we never have and never will,” DEA Assistant Special Agent In Charge David A Schiller said. “We care about those coming into our state, taking advantage of laws.”

The extent of the bust was huge and took over a year of investigation and involved multiple states. Authorities have been watching the suspects since March 2016.

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