After a successful criminal investigation, seven people were arrested in connection with a large scale marijuana grow operation that is being eradicated today near Lakewood in northern Oconto County in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
At this point thousands of marijuana plants have been found with more expected, as evidence continues to be collected and processed. Approximately 150 federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement agents are involved in the effort.
The eradication of dozens of sites took place on the Lakewood District of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF), 60 miles northwest of Green Bay, or approximately 50 miles southeast of Rhinelander. The grow sites are along the south branch of the Oconto River near Hwy. 64. The investigation began earlier this year, after authorities received a tip from a fisherman.
The size, scope and elaborate nature of these types of grow sites have been an issue throughout Wisconsin over the past few years. Local, state and federal officials will continue to work together addressing these types of grow operations. It is important for the public to report any suspicious growing operations or unusual campsites to the nearest law enforcement agency. These sites should be considered dangerous and individuals finding themselves in such surroundings should leave immediately. Any prosecutions related to this investigation will be handled by the U.S Attorney’s Office Eastern District.
The operation was led by special agents and officers from the United States Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations Division, the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Assisting in the investigation were representatives from many other agencies, including officials from the U.S. Forest Service U.S. Homeland Security and Investigations, United States Coast Guard, United States Marshals Service, the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, the Langlade County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol and the Office of Investigations.
The U.S. Forest Service will be leading a field tour of the area once it is cleared of any evidence, sometime in the near future.
For more information, call CNNF Public Affairs Officer Suzanne Flory at (715) 362-1354.