Colorado man sentenced to 5 years for growing marijuana on Colorado River island

DENVER  — Prosecutors say a Colorado man has been sentenced to five years in prison for growing thousands of marijuana plants on an island in the Colorado River.

U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer’s office says 33-year-old Santos Ramirez-Carrillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute 50 or more marijuana plants.

According to court records, Ramirez-Carrillo and another man began living and working on the island near De Beque — northeast of Grand Junction — in May 2017 and worked with other people to grow marijuana in the area, including on federally owned land.

Authorities searched the island in September and arrested Ramirez-Carrillo and another man, Santos Ramirez-Alvarez, at a campsite. Agents found more than 9,100 plants.

Officials say the marijuana grows, which are illegal on federal land, can have a severe effect on the environment.