Felony drug charges filed

Case involves marijuana operation south of Steamboat

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— The District Attorney's Office has filed felony charges against a man arrested last month in connection with a major marijuana growth and distribution operation discovered south of Steamboat Springs.

Kyle Chandler Lindahl, 27, faces Class 4 felony charges of cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana with the intent to manufacture and distribute, and a Class 5 felony charge of possession of 8 or more ounces of marijuana.

The complaint, filed earlier this month by the D.A.'s Office, also notes that Lindahl allegedly committed the felonies while in possession of, or proximity to, a deadly weapon, allowing him to be charged as a special offender.

Special offender status could be considered an aggravating factor in any eventual sentencing. Class 4 felonies usually carry a maximum sentence of six years of imprisonment. Class 5 felonies usually carry three years.

Lindahl also is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a petty offense.

Additional charges still are possible in the matter, as the Routt County Sheriff's Office investigation into the growth operation is ongoing, Investigator Ken Klinger said Thursday. The investigation is focusing on the financial side of operation, he said.

"(Lindahl) was depositing large sums of money into an account and certainly didn't make that much money," Klinger said.

Investigators have not shared any information as to where the drug may have been distributed.

Lindahl's attorney, Kris Hammond, did not return calls for comment Friday.

The operation was discovered in the 21800 block of Routt County Road 41A, in the Hilton Gulch area south of Steamboat Springs, after a deputy received a tip from the property owner Sept. 12. In addition to the growth operation in three rooms above a two-car garage on the property, a search also turned up bags of marijuana ready for sale and a loaded .22 caliber rifle.

Investigators found plants as tall as 3 feet actively growing at the facility, as well as 23 immature plants, 23 drying strands of marijuana and dozens of discarded plants that already had been harvested.

It took a 26-foot long U-Haul to cart all the evidence away from the Hilton Gulch property, which has been characterized as the largest growth operation uncovered in Routt County in more than a decade.

Lindahl was arrested Sept. 13 on suspicion of possession of marijuana, sale of an illegal substance and possession of a deadly weapon. He was released from Routt County Jail the following day on $20,000 bond.

Lindahl is due to appear in Routt County Court at 9 a.m. Oct. 29.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203 or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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