Routt County Sheriff's Office Dep. Clark Kreger checks out a small room used to grow marijuana in the garage of a home in the 28100 block of Routt County Road 41A in the Hilton Gulch area south of Steamboat Springs. Kreger and Dep. Shawn Hockaday uncovered the operation after the homeowner, who was renting out the property, alerted law enforcement officers.

Photo by John F. Russell

Routt County Sheriff's Office Dep. Clark Kreger checks out a small room used to grow marijuana in the garage of a home in the 28100 block of Routt County Road 41A in the Hilton Gulch area south of Steamboat Springs. Kreger and Dep. Shawn Hockaday uncovered the operation after the homeowner, who was renting out the property, alerted law enforcement officers.

Deputies make pot bust

Cops seize Hilton Gulch marijuana operation, make arrest

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Routt County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Miles De Young carries a grow light used to cultivate marijuana out of the garage of a home in the 28100 block of Routt County Road 41A in the Hilton Gulch area south of Steamboat Springs. The Sheriff's Office started processing the scene early Monday morning.

Investigators with the Routt County Sheriff's Office needed all day Monday and a 26-foot-long U-Haul to deconstruct and seize a major marijuana growth and distribution operation south of Steamboat Springs.

By the end of the day, deputies had arrested 27-year-old Kyle Lindahl on suspicion of possession of marijuana, sale of an illegal substance and possession of a deadly weapon. Lindahl is co-owner of downtown Steamboat liquor store Pioneer Spirits.

Investigators could not yet assign numbers to the alleged operation, including the amount of marijuana seized, but Investigator Ken Klinger pointed out many signs of a large and long-term operation where the plants were grown, dried, packaged and shipped.

"Most of the marijuana grows that we have found are 10- to 15-plant grows," Klinger said. "This is the biggest one I've seen in 12 years."

The drug bust was made in the 28100 block of Routt County Road 41A, in the Hilton Gulch area south of Steamboat Springs. The smell of marijuana was evident walking down the driveway toward a small house and a white two-car garage shaped like a barn. On the second floor of the garage were three rooms, including a hidden room that included 23 immature plants and 23 strands of marijuana hanging across the room to dry. In an adjacent grow room, plants as tall as 3 feet grew in small plastic pots under grow lights. The third and largest room had dozens of discarded potting plants, stripped of their vegetation.

In the house, investigators said they found additional evidence such as a loaded weapon and bags of marijuana ready for distribution. Klinger said investigators did not know where the marijuana was being distributed.

Sheriff's Office officials credited the bust to rookie Deputy Clark Kreger, who wrote the search and arrest warrants and arrested Lindahl when he turned himself in Monday evening.

"He did a great job," Sheriff Gary Wall said. "I'm as proud as I can be of these guys. This is what we do."

Kreger and his training officer, Deputy Shawn Hockaday, received a tip Sunday from the property's owner. Hockaday said the property owner discovered the operation while inspecting the property in anticipation of renting it to a new tenant beginning next month.

"If it wasn't for the owner, we wouldn't have known this was here," Hockaday said.

Lindahl has hired Steamboat defense attorney Kris Hammond, who said Monday night that he was not yet prepared to respond to the allegations against his client.

"I have not seen any of the reports related to this case," Hammond said. "He turned himself in this evening, and we're at the very beginning of this."

The size of the operation presented logistical problems for Sheriff's Office officials, who said they plan to rent a trailer to house all the evidence.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 11 months ago

Well, break the law, pay the price. It sucks for Kyle, but until it's changed, the law is the law.

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Duke_bets 5 years, 11 months ago

Matt - What sucks for Kyle? And, what laws are going to be changed? They won't be making dope farms legal any time soon.

He owns a dope pedalling farm. Well, used to own a dope pedalling farm. He's officially hosed and deservedly so.

The laws in Colorado will have him out of the big house in a year or two. That doesn't suck at all.

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Matthew Stoddard 5 years, 11 months ago

It sucks for Kyle to have brought this situation on himself. And to me, marijuana is the same as alcohol, except that alcohol is legal and marijuana isn't. And unless you've you spent anytime in a prison, 2yrs isn't fun at all.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 11 months ago

Personal use is rarely being enforced. This looked far more like a business than personal use and going into the alcohol business by setting up a still and making alcohol is also a crime.

But then anyone that keeps growing and drying pot when the landlord is showing the place to potential new tenants is probably so stoned so often that this might have been for personal use.

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