Wisconsin hunters find multi-million dollar marijuana growing operation

  • Updated: October 26, 2007 - 12:11 PM


JANESVILLE, Wis. — Hunters in Walworth County stumbled on millions of dollars worth of marijuana plants, uncovering a major growing operation, a drug enforcement agent said.

The hunters found 1,600 plants growing in two areas on public hunting grounds, said Sgt. Jeff Patek of the Walworth County Drug Unit.

They found a spot with 1,000 plants on Sept. 10, and a second area with 600 plants Saturday, Patek said. The plants were 10- to 15-feet tall and ready to be harvested, he said.

More than two dozen officers from five counties helped clear the plants from the latest field on Thursday. They put the drug in tarps that a helicopter carried to a nearby field. Then the drug was piled into pickup trucks and taken to a county burn pit for destruction.

No arrests have been made yet.

Law enforcement officials found food, propane heaters and other items at two campsites where the growers appeared to have been staying.

"You had to get right up on top of it before seeing everything,'' said a hunters who asked not to be identified because the growers haven't been arrested. "They had it all hidden with vegetation.''

The underbrush covering the second site was so thick police didn't spot it when they destroyed the first field in September.

Doug Miller said the field was only about 250 yards from his home. He could smell the marijuana being chopped Thursday.

"I assume I’m safer now," said Miller. "I’ll bet money they are not coming back.”

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