Nearly 16,000 illegal marijuana plants netted in multi-agency operation north of Rifle (CO)

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.

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