An aerial view of a home on the 2000 block of East County Road 70 in Wellington, showing what investigators say is a large outdoor marijuana grow. / Court documents filed by Larimer County Sheriff's Office
But there's been another reason helicopters have been flying above the city: local cops using military helicopters to make marijuana busts across Larimer County.
According to court documents, an investigator with the Larimer County Sheriff's Office conducted aerial surveillance from a Colorado National Guard helicopter at least twice this summer. Investigator Josh Sheldon said in court documents that he flew over suspected pot grows on Aug. 24 and Aug. 31, taking photographs of properties in Wellington, Bellvue and the High Park Fire burn area.
Sheldon then got search warrants from a local judge, allowing deputies to descend upon the suspected grow operations. The take from two connected busts: 154 plants, seven rifles, pistols and shotguns, Vicodin, hashish and Oxycontin.
"The local task forces just don't have the resources for air support," said Lance Clem, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Safety. "Those kind of assets can help the locals quite a bit."
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