Thousands of illegally grown marijuana plants valued on the black market at more than $7.5 million were destroyed and six arrested during a multi-agency operation north of Rifle on Tuesday.
The grow bust netted nearly 16,000 individual marijuana plants over five sites on a mixture of public and private land northwest of Rifle Gap Reservoir, said Steven Knight, DEA resident agent in charge.
“There have been bigger (illegal grows) but in Colorado that’s a pretty big one,” he said. “That’s the biggest one I know of this year.”
Each plant is capable of producing roughly one pound of finished product per growing cycle. With an estimated black market value of $500-$700, the bust diverted millions of dollars from the illicit drug market.