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August 11, 11

NEWS / Large Marijuana Grow Operation on U.S. Forest Land Eradicated


One Man Arrested and Four Others Sought; Will Face Federal Drug Charges

MADISON, WI—John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that a large marijuana grow operation located in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Ashland County, Wis., was eradicated today. One individual was arrested at the scene, and four others are at large. The marijuana grow involved thousands of plants over a several-acre area approximately 25 miles northwest of Park Falls, Wis. Law enforcement was alerted to its presence by a tip from a hunter in November 2010.

Approximately 175 federal, state, and local law enforcement agents were involved in today’s operation, which involved the removal of the marijuana plants and the processing of the site for evidence. An evaluation of the scene indicated that the grow operation has been active for some time. The site included a campsite for individuals who cultivated the grow operation. Loaded firearms were found at the campsite.

Law enforcement officials are asking any members of the public who see suspicious individuals in the area to contact the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office at 715- 685-7640.

Any individuals who are arrested in connection with this grow operation will be charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with manufacturing marijuana.

“Unfortunately, there are criminals who take advantage of the remote and heavily wooded nature of our national forests to cultivate marijuana on a large-scale basis. Visitors to U.S. forest land who come upon marijuana grow operations should leave the area immediately and report their observations to law enforcement authorities,” United States Attorney Vaudreuil said.

The investigation of this matter is being conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation; Ashland County Sheriff’s Department; Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Forest Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Northwest Area Crime Unit (comprised of Sawyer, Douglas and Washburn County Sheriffs’ Departments and Superior Police Department); U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. The prosecution of the case will be handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.

The U.S. Forest Service will lead a field tour of the area for members of the media once it is cleared of all evidence. This is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, August 23. For further information, please contact Suzanne Flory, Public Affairs Officer for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, at 715-362-1354 (office) or 715-493-5667 (cell).

http://www.fbi.gov/milwaukee/press-releases/2011/large-marijuana-grow-operation-on-u.s.-forest-land-eradicated

Tags: criminal investigation,
 




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