Structure fire leads to discovery of illegal grow operation
A structure fire Saturday afternoon south of Yuma led to the discovery of a large-scale illegal marijuana grow in a residential basement.
The Yuma Fire Department and the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a structure fire on June 3 at approximately 12:40 p.m. near the intersection of County Roads 30 and C. The structure fire was determined to have originated from the basement of the home where a large marijuana grow was located. The likely cause of the fire was faulty wiring that powered the grow’s many high-powered lighting ballasts, fans and hydroponic systems.
The Sheriff’s Office’s preliminary on-scene investigation determined that the marijuana grow was not legal. The Sheriff’s Office has reason to believe that many, if not all, of the plants being cultivated from this grow were destined for a retail marijuana dispensary on the Front Range.
Clifton Boggess, 54, and Connie Sizemore, 47, were taken into custody and booked into the Yuma County Detention Center for Distribution of Marijuana.
A search warrant was executed on the residence at approximately 6:15 p.m. The search of the residence took nearly six hours and yielded a small amount of cash, marijuana growing equipment, cell phones, computers and other items of evidentiary interest, approximately 2 pounds of marijuana, and 1,721 marijuana plants. Although not all the plants were mature, assuming maturity to harvest for all 1,721 marijuana plants, their approximate retail value is $6.9 million.
Boggess and Sizemore are being held in the Yuma County Detention Center without bail until they are advised of their charges by a District Court Judge.
The investigation of this case is ongoing and investigating deputies are working in conjunction with the state Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in an attempt to identify connections to Front Range dispensaries.
Citizens with any information are encouraged to contact the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office at 970-332-4805 or through private message on Facebook.
Suspect has past in Florida
Suspect Clifton Boggess, 54, has a history out of Florida, the Pioneer has learned thanks to a citizen who did a search on him after finding out about his arrest earlier this week.
An online article from July 3, 2012, by 10 News, the ABC affiliate in Miami, Boggess was a person of interest in the 2007 disappearance of Heather Riggio, 20. A detective with North Miami Beach Police told the television station had a violent criminal past. The news station reported he had a rap sheet that included a 1997 arrest for kidnapping and shooting a woman who refused his advances.
The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the Clifton Boggess arrested Saturday south of Yuma is the same man. The YCSO has been in contact with authorities in south Florida about the situation.