THORNTON – Nearly 100 homes and businesses were raided Thursday morning as part of a metro-wide marijuana enforcement effort coordinated by federal and local police, Denver7 Investigates has learned.
The operation targeted suspected large-scale black-market marijuana operations, a law enforcement official said. Denver7Investigates has learned the investigation centers on alleged illegal grows where the products were shipped out of state.
Agents and police served search warrants at multiple locations before 7 a.m. in unincorporated Adams County, Brighton, Commerce City, Denver, Thornton, Westminster, Parker, Weld County and Jefferson County.
At least five raids occurred on Adams Street northwest of Colorado Blvd. and 120th Ave. in Thornton.
Marijuana plants spread out on the driveway of a home raided this morning by federal and local police. I’m told this investigation involves illegal marijuana trafficking outside of Colorado — which is illegal anyway you slice it. This is in Thornton. pic.twitter.com/qqS8oqD0T9
— Jace Larson Denver7 (@jacelarson) August 9, 2018
A spokeswoman with the Drug Enforcement Administration and a United States Attorney's Office spokesman told Denver7investigative reporter Jace Larson that the raids were the result of legally-approved federal search warrants.
At least two people were detained and were put in the back of a police transport van at a home on Adams Street. ThreeDenver7 sources say while people were detained and questioned, they will be released and not arrested Thursday. Charges could come at a later time.
The early morning raids surprised neighbors.
"I was laying in bed and I heard, 'Police! Open up. Come out right now.' I’m like, 'What is going on,'" neighbor Judy Connell said. Connell lived across the street from one of the homes police raided on Adams Street.
She said she felt her neighbors across the street had suspicious habits which included not turning on visible lights at night.
"We never saw him in the day. He would come out at night. We’d see him out watering in his underwear at night. He would shovel his snow at night," she said.
Tim McDermott, in charge of the Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Utah offices of the DEA, supervised the raids.
"As you can see, the black market is thriving in Colorado," he said.
McDermott told Denver7 he could not comment further on today's action because it is an ongoing case.
"Colorado citizens don't expect to have their neighbors involved in illegal activity," he said.
McDermott said grow houses can endanger other homeowners living nearby.
"You have the potential for fires and if the fire department comes here, it can be a major hazard for them," he said.