By Teresa L. Benns
CRESTONE — Charges are pending on a Paonia man who is the reputed owner of a tract in the Baca Grande subdivision outside Crestone where 194 mature and trimmed plants were seized from an illegal marijuana grow May 2, a Saguache Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said.
The grow was raided following a tip to the sheriff’s office last week.
By law, those growing for personal use are allowed to have a maximum of 12 plants per household according to state marijuana legislation unless local laws further limit the plant count. Anthony Corino, the alleged property owner, was not registered with the state or the county.
The bust comes following a statement by a source close to Saguache County Sheriff Dan Warwick who reported that the grace period for registering marijuana grow applications with the State and the county is over and those who do not possess these permits will be prosecuted.
When officers first visited the grow, Corino was at home and allowed deputies to inspect the plants, growing alongside herb and vegetable plants. It was discovered that the plants were labeled with 2017 grow tags that Corino had not placed on his plants the year before.
Code enforcement officials with the Saguache County Land Use Office accompanied by sheriff’s deputies raided the grow later Wednesday after obtaining a warrant for Corino, but Corino was not there. They photographed the plants and left 12 of the plants allowed legally at the greenhouses where the raid occurred.
Corino does not appear to be registered as the owner of the property where the marijuana was grown, according to county assessor records. Records posted on the Secretary of State website show Corino’s registration with the state to grow is delinquent.
The sheriff’s office is encouraging Corino to turn himself in.
The spokesperson told another media outlet that those growing should “get legal” by obtaining the proper permits. What is not clear is whether Saguache County can issue a variance for those growing for personal use to exceed the number of plants and still be “legal.”
The state has declared 12 as the maximum permitted amount, but Saguache County maintains they are able to override state law. Additional illegal grows are currently under investigation, the spokesperson said.
The Saguache Sheriff’s Office is asking those who know of any illegal grows in their area to report them to a special tip line at 719-221-0547.