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Tens of thousands of illegal marijuana plants found in Las Animas County

Investigators in Las Animas County have found tens of thousands of illegal marijuana plants grown in the county since the spring, including one grow operation where the occupants shot at a 13-year-old boy rounding up cattle nearby.

That incident with the shooting happened on May 26 near the eastern edge of Las Animas County. A rancher said his son was rounding up the cattle that was on leased grazing property when he was shot at near a suspected illegal marijuana grow.

Investigators got evidence and obtained a search warrant before raiding the property last Thursday. Four people — Ronnie Thursby, 40, Deven Thursby, 23, Denis Street, 34, and Christopher Huxtable, 31 — were arrested on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, according to the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office.

The LACSO also referenced a monthslong search operation during the spring and summer in which multiple marijuana grow sites were discovered with thousands of marijuana plants.

Another search of two properties in the Fishers Peak Ranches subdivision found several hundred illegal marijuana plants. One person, 40-year-old Heath Rigmaiden, was taken into custody for cultivation of marijuana-over 30 plants.

LACSO said it has identified more than 40 active illegal marijuana grow sites in the county and is working on eradicating the locations.

The sheriff’s office says to date, it has eradicated “approximately 5904 illicit marijuana plants, with a black market street value of $5,757,000.00.”

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