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Following Wednesday’s raid on the illegal marijuana farm near San Isabel along Highway 165 in Pueblo County, early estimates were that 7,000 to 9,000 plants were seized. However, after clearing all four grow sites, authorities totaled up 13,735 plants with an overall value of between $18 and $20 million, according to Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor. Detectives also confiscated 300 to 400 pounds of dried marijuana. Authorities had been investigating the operation since January, when snowshoers discovered hidden supplies and chemicals that they reported as a possible methamphetamine lab. The area was later determined to be a former marijuana farm. Detectives began surveillance of the area in may and discovered sophisticated irrigation systems, huts and men tending to the plants wearing camouflage. Arrested in Wednesday’s raid were Luis Leon-Tobar, 32, and Abel Resendiz-Soto, 29. Four other suspects escaped and have not yet been located.

The Colorado Army National Guard will break ground today for a new 27,150-square-foot readiness center in Alamosa. The new facility will be the home of about 80 part-time and four full-time Colorado Army National Guard soldiers from Company D, 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry. The new building will consist of two classrooms plus an assembly hall. A permanent readiness center will enable guardsmen to respond quickly to emergencies in southern Colorado. Currently, the closest permanent readiness center to Alamosa is in Pueblo, about 120 miles away. The new building is scheduled to be completed in September of next year and will cost around $8 million to construct.

After finding more and more mineral content in the amethyst and equity veins near Creede, Rio Grande Silver, Inc., is pursuing support to intensify its mining operations. At a public meeting on Tuesday, forest service and RGS representatives welcomed public comment on an environmental assessment for a plan to go deeper into the mountains via underground exploration, specifically regarding water and waste rock operations. Forest planner Dave Dyer said that this “is not a new development for RGS, but the continuation of an existing development”. He said, “They are starting the assessment of opening the bull dog portal.” And “this is an analysis for the best course of action.” If the EA determines an environmental impact statement is not necessary, RGS will pursue underground exploration and development work next month to validate the mine’s economic potential.

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet will be in Trinidad at the Mount Carmel Health, Wellness and Community Center at 911 Robinson Avenue at 3:30pm this afternoon. The center, which opened last month, provides critical health and wellness services and serves as a community center offering performing arts and community education programs.

U.S. Representative Scott Tipton will hold two town hall meetings in the San Luis Valley next week to answer questions and to provide a legislative update. The first meeting will take place on Monday from 5:30 to 6:30pm at the San Luis Valley Information Center at 947 First Street in Monte Vista. The second meeting will take place on Tuesday from 5:30 to 6:30pm at the Blanca-Fort Garland Community Center at 17591 U.S. Highway 160 east, just west of Fort Garland. Everyone is welcome at either of the meetings.