Men charged in De Beque Canyon pot bust in federal court on Wednesday

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The suspects accused in a major illegal marijuana growing operation in Western Colorado appeared in federal court in Grand Junction on Wednesday

Santos Ramirez-Alvarez and Santos Ramirez-Carrello were arrested on Sept. 7, when more than 9,000 marijuana plants were uprooted from the illegal growing operation, according to officials. It was located on two islands along the Colorado River in the De Beque Canyon.

Related: 9,000 pot plants found growing in dense brush on island off I-70 in De Beque Canyon

The two men are from Sinaloa, Mexico and are facing one count conspiracy to manufacture 1,000 or more marijuana plants. If convicted they could get 10 years to life in prison.

The judge said there is little known about Alvarez but Carrello had several previous offenses including a number of prior removals from the US.

The DEA and other local agencies shut it all down, but investigators think it all might be connected to a larger drug cartel operating out of Mexico.

They are due back in court Sept. 22.

A third suspect in the case got away on Sept. 7, according to reports.

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