Crime Briefs: Another illegal pot farm busted near Rifle
Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration on Oct. 7 arrested three men and discovered hundreds of marijuana plants being illegally grown near Rifle.
This follows a much bigger bust in September of an illegal marijuana grow on the other side of Rifle in which TRIDENT and the DEA recovered about 2,600 plants.
TRIDENT and the DEA, along with the Garfield County’s All Hazards Response Team, served a search warrant at 349 Garfield County Road 329 near Rulison.
One on the men arrested last week was 26-year-old Christopher Sorgine, who was reported to be in charge of the operation and who told investigators all the marijuana plants belonged to him.
Authorities were tipped off by a confidential source who worked for Sorgine at the property, but who discovered that marijuana was being illegally grown and sold in Minnesota and Chicago. The source said Sorgine could sell it for $2,400 to $2,600 per pound out of state, and would return from a trip with up to $50,000.
The source also said Sorgine makes THC concentrate with a butane hash oil extractor, which authorities also found on the property.
Sorgine has a criminal history, including a 2011 arrest in Texas for possession of marijuana between five and 50 pounds, according to an affidavit.
Investigators found “extremely high electrical usage” at the residence, and Holy Cross Energy indicated that all payments had been made in cash. Their biggest bill for a 1,500-square-foot residence being $1,920. A DEA special agent called this “indicative of an indoor marijuana grow.”
Authorities found a medical marijuana card recommending that Sorgine have 36 plants. Sorgine told investigators he didn’t know how many plants were on the property, but that there were a lot. He also didn’t know how many plants he was allowed to have but also that he was allowed to have a lot.
All three were arrested on charges of extraction of marijuana concentrate with a hazardous substance, a level 2 drug felony, and cultivation of more than 30 marijuana plants, a level 3 drug felony.
chase through Rifle
A 27-year-old New Castle man was arrested Oct. 7 after speeding through Rifle trying to flee police.
Rifle police were dispatched after a person with an outstanding warrant was seen driving a maroon Buick. The 27-year-old was suspected in an earlier hit-and-run collision and in a case of eluding Colorado State Patrol troopers, according to an affidavit.
He had been making suicidal statements and was an off and on user of methamphetamine, according to Rifle police.
Police spotted his vehicle on the south side of town and started pursuing him. But he sped up and led police on a high-speed pursuit that would wind through many neighborhoods in the middle of town.
He blew through yield and stop signs, some at 50 mph. The vehicle was weaving in and out of both lanes in many places, turning erratically into neighborhoods and an alleyway.
He reached 60 mph in a 25 mph zone and passed other vehicles in the middle of town. He ended up leaving city limits on Garfield County Road 293, speeding up to 85 mph.
The 27-year-old drove onto fenced private property crashed into a metal gate. He then fled on foot and officers and deputies found him in a nearby ditch, submerged in water and complaining that he was very cold, according to an affidavit.
A paramedic later found a glass pipe containing residue that fell out of his pocket. Officers suspect this was used for smoking methamphetamine.
He was arrested on charges of vehicular eluding, a class 5 felony, along with reckless driving, speeding, obstruction of a peace officer, criminal mischief, and second-degree trespassing, all misdemeanors. He was also arrested on possession of drug paraphernalia, a petty offense.
worker steals owner’s car
In September, a 53-year-old who apparently was working on a business’s air-condtioning unit stole the owner’s vehicle after the owner wouldn’t let him work, according to Glenwood Springs police.
The suspect later said he’d recently had seizures and was angry that the owner wanted him to get medical clearance before working on the roof.
The owner said he left the man alone with the keys to his 2013 Ford Taurus, and when he came back, the 53-year-old and his car were gone. In addition, $1,500 was missing from a bank bag.
Carbondale police the next day recovered the vehicle and arrested four occupants, none of them being the 53-year-old man. One of them, however, was the 53-year-old’s nephew.
Another man in the car told police that the 53-year-old said he’d stolen the car and was trading it to his nephew for drugs. The four had been driving around looking for a similar vehicle to swap license plates. .
The 53-year-old was arrested Oct. 7 on charges of aggravated motor vehicle theft, a class 5 felony, first-degree criminal trespassing, a class 5 felony, and misdemeanor theft.
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Garfield County says no open burning is permitted between noon and 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, due to the National Weather Service Red Flag warning.