Police find $40,000 marijuana crop

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An Oak Creek man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of growing marijuana on public land in Eagle County.

The 20 plants found by GRAMNET officers had a street value of $30,000 to $40,000, Routt County Sheriff John Warner said.

Charles Chandler, 19, was charged with the cultivation of marijuana, a Class 4 felony. The 3- to 4.5-foot-high plants were reaching maturity, Warner said, and were planted a few months ago.

GRAMNET, the Grand, Routt and Moffat Narcotic Enforcement Team, received an anonymous tip about a marijuana crop in the southern end of the county, Warner said. The agency found the 20 plants on Eagle County Road 301. The road combines with Routt County Road 1 and weaves in and out of Routt County.

The plants were growing on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management, Warner said.

GRAMNET found the crop, determined that it was in Eagle County and called the Eagle County Drug Task Force for back up.

While GRAMNET was waiting for Eagle County to arrive, they saw Chandler water the plants. Chandler was taken into custody by Eagle County Thursday afternoon and released on $5,000 bond that night. He will be tried in Eagle County.

At this point, Chandler is the only one charged in the case, Warner said. The Eagle County Sheriff's Office said the case was under investigation.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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