A budding marijuana grow in a Pueblo backyard may be removed pending the outcome of an investigation.
The Tenth Judicial District is investigating whether charges will be filed against Raymond Lucero, 85, for growing about 115 marijuana plants in his backyard without a license.
Police discovered the plants in Lucero's backyard on the 400 block of Washington Street last Saturday while investigating a shooting involving Lucero's son, 34-year-old Jason Lucero. Under state law, adults can grow up to six marijuana plants, only three of which may be in the budding process.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by KRDO NewsChannel 13, a 13-year-old boy was trying to get into Raymond Lucero's yard to steal marijuana. A friend of the teen, Miguel Castillo, 28, told police the teen was trying to get into the yard to "get some plants." Castillo said the teen was shot before he made it to Lucero's yard. When the teen was shot, Castillo told police he heard him yell, "Ohhh." Police say Jason Lucero shot the teen in the chest with a pellet gun.
The plants are within plain view of neighbors' homes, and even the front yard. Some plants are as high as 12 feet. But at least for now, police are leaving them alone.
"If we were to seize them, we have to maintain them in the state they're seized. We don't have anywhere to maintain or grow plants, especially 115 of them," said Sgt. Eric Gonzales.
KRDO NewsChannel 13 asked Raymond Lucero if he had reason to believe the teen knew he was growing marijuana in his yard.
"Oh, no. He didn't know. I don't know what he was doing in somebody else's yard," Raymond Lucero said.
When asked why he was growing 115 marijuana plants without a license, Raymond Lucero replied, "It would be better to mind your own business."
Raymond Lucero wouldn't say whether he was growing the marijuana for someone else.
"It's none of your business. I'm growing it for me," he said.
"We haven't come across a case where there's 115 plus plants in a yard. Usually we'll find some that have an excess of 6 or 12, but this is the largest we've seen," Gonzales said.
"The investigation is still ongoing, so additional charges may be presented -- but not clear until the investigation is done," said 10th Judicial District DA Jeff Chostner.
Jason Lucero has been charged with second degree assault. He has been released from the Pueblo County Jail on a $25,000 bond.
Jason Lucero will make his first court appearance on Aug. 25.