Update on Large Marijuana Bust in Marinette County
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 The Coleman-Crivitz Journal

Update on Large Marijuana Bust in Marinette County

July 18, 2012
A property in Middle Inlet, Wis (north of Crivitz) where a large marijuana bust took place and where the plants have been eradicated (Photo by Fox 11 News)
A property in Middle Inlet, Wis (north of Crivitz) where a large marijuana bust took place and where the plants have been eradicated (Photo by Fox 11 News)
Here is an update by the Peshtigo Times on the large marijuana grow bust in Marinette County on July 16.

Alertness of two fishermen and a logger in May and June led to charges against five Green Bay residents in connection with large growing marijuana operations in the towns of Middle Inlet and Athelstane.

United States Attorney James L. Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced Tuesday, July 17, that five individuals have been charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Green Bay, with knowingly and intentionally conspiring to manufacture and possess with the intent to distribute marijuana. The offense involved more than 1,000 marijuana plants at the two separate locations in Marinette County.

The individuals charged who all reside in Green Bay are identified as: Brian Magana, 19, Javier Magna,51, Manuel Mendoza 45, Marco Magana, 38, and Maria Hilda Magana-Mendoza. They made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Green Bay. If convicted they face a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life imprisonment, up to $10 million in fines and at least five years on supervised release.

The charges against the defendants are the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation, Marinette County Sheriff’s Depart-ment, Brown County Sheriff’s Department, Marinette Police Depart-ment, Green Bay Police Department, Brown County Drug Task Force, United States Forest Service, and the United States Marshal Service. Prosecution of the case will be handled by Assistant United States Attorney William J. Lipscomb.

According to the complaint, the investigation began in May when the Marinette County Sheriff Department was contacted by a fisherman on an incident while fishing on the Middle Inlet Creek near W6898 County Road X, Middle Inlet. He had been approached by two Hispanic males informing him that “fishing was closed”. The fisherman had observed several trees cut down over the waterway power cords over the water and bridge.

Authorities checked county tax records for the site and found that the 5.5 acres had been purchased Jan. 13 by Manuel Mendoza and Brian Javier Magana. Investigation also revealed they also purchased the adjacent property at W6864 County Road X consisting of 34 acres. Tax records also showed that Javier Magana owned property at N12309 South Hill Road, Athelstane, consisting of 22 acres.

Surveillance of the properties began June 3. On June 7 a logger notified authorities he had been requested to check standing timber at the Athelstane site. The logger then located a marijuana grow operation of over 30 plants in a 50-foot by 50-foot clearing. Authorities also began conducting surveillance at the site.

Surveillance on the properties recorded various vehicles come and go some of which were followed. Aerial surveillance found wooded areas that had been cleared with rows of planted vegetation on each property.

On June 18 another fisherman contacted authorities of a large growth just off Middle Inlet Creek, north of County Road X and provided a map of the location. Also observed was a pump next to the stream, power cord, makeshift bridge and a shed in which someone was sleeping.

On Monday, July 16, law enforcement executed a federal search warrant at the Athelstane site. Located in the bedroom was a loaded shotgun.

A federal warrant was also executed Monday at the Javier Magana Mendoza at 1264 Doty St., Green Bay. His wife, Maria Hilda and their son, Brian, 19, one of the owners of the Middle Inlet site, were arrested.

Brian Magana was interviewed and admitted purchasing the Middle Inlet property with his uncle, Manual Mendza and that the properties were purchased for use in growing marijuana for sale. On July 4 he along with his mother and uncle, Marco Magna and two others went to the Athelstane site to take seeds from the marijuana plants.

The grow sites at Middle Inlet and Athelstane each had more than 1,000 plants growing.

Since Monday, July 16, eradication of the marijuana plants and collection of evidence have been underway by the Marinette County Sheriff Department and other law enforcement agencies involved.

During execution of the search warrants on Monday, July 16, a portion of County Road X, Middle Inlet, was closed to traffic.
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