Fruita man charged in medical pot burglary case |

Fruita man charged in medical pot burglary case

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The lone adult accused of his alleged involvement in a burglary at a medical marijuana grow facility near New Castle appeared in Garfield County District Court Wednesday, and was advised of the charges against him.

Jose Rodolfo Chavez, 18, was charged with three felonies, including second-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary, and possession of more than 8 oz. of marijuana. Chavez was also charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief, theft and criminal trespassing.

Prosecutors allege that Chavez was the ringleader of an attempted robbery of a marijuana grow facility near New Castle.

Chavez is accused of driving nearly 80 miles from a residence in Fruita to a ranch located on County Road 214, and breaking into the facility and attempting to steal at least one marijuana plant on March 15.

The other three accused accomplices are juveniles from Fruita. All three appeared in Garfield County Court last week and were advised of similar charges against each of them.

According to a Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputy report, the group broke the plywood door to the greenhouse, which was locked, and cut an “exit” in the greenhouse’s plastic covering as an escape route.

Authorities reported approximately $300 in damages to the greenhouse and one marijuana plant weighing approximately five pounds was uprooted.

According to the report, deputies were called to the location by the residence owner who reported that he had contacted two males in a gray Honda Civic driving away from his residence as he returned home the morning of March 15.

The victim told deputies that he asked one of the boys in the vehicle what they were doing, and their response was that they were trying to steal some pot plants.

The victim was able to take down the license plate number and reported it to deputies, who discovered that it was registered to Chavez. Fruita Police arrested Chavez several days later, and posted a $12,000 bond.

The two boys took off in the vehicle, but allegedly left behind the other two accomplices; A 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy. The report said that deputies arrested the two who were left behind after tracking them with a K-9 unit for close to two miles.

The victim also told deputies that he rented his greenhouse to a local medicinal marijuana dispensary to grow marijuana plants.

According to the report, the victim’s neighbor claimed to have witnessed one of the boys running from the greenhouse carrying a plant, but later dropped the plant in a pasture.

The two who were arrested by Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputies, both identified the other juvenile suspect who escaped in the vehicle with Chavez, as another 17-year-old boy from Fruita.

The 15-year-old girl told authorities in an interview, that she had been to the victim’s ranch the Saturday before the alleged incident with her mother to ride horses.

The report stated that she admitted to telling the others that “she knew they were growing marijuana there.”

One of the 17-year-old boys told authorities that he was accused of stealing pot from the other two boys, and that he attempted to steal a marijuana plant in order to repay them.

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