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 of 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.
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