Pot grow worth $8.5 million found in White River National Forest

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DENVER — An illegal marijuana growing operation worth millions of dollars has been destroyed, the U.S. Forest Service reported Monday.

The site was found in the White River National Forest near Redstone by two archery hunters who reported it to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department.

The grow had 3,375 marijuana plants. Estimating each plant had an average value of $2,500 per pound, the site would be worth about $8.4 million, said Forest Service spokesman Chris Strebig.

“Growing marijuana on national forest lands will not be tolerated,” said Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor for the White River National Forest. “These cultivation sites cause significant resource damage and endanger visitors who may stumble upon a large amount of marijuana with a large street value.”

Crews removed the plants and dismantled an irrigation system and a makeshift camp.

While illegal marijuana cultivation poses a public safety risk, it also directly harms the environment. The illegal use of pesticides can cause extensive long-term damage to natural resources, Strebig said.

No arrests have been made. The investigation continues.

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