Seven people were arrested, and a team of more than 150 law enforcement officers collected and destroyed more than 15,000 marijuana plants worth an estimated $15 million, as the result of a major drug investigation in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
Six of the seven people arrested in connection with the marijuana growing operation in Oconto County appeared in federal court Thursday morning. They were identified as Maria Blanca Garcia, Miguel Sanchez-Garcia, Pedro Infante-Ramirez, Guillermo Chavez-Carrion, Jose Alfredo Sierra-Aguilar and Juan Carlos Cervantes Contreras.
All six were ordered detained. Only Blanca Garcia is in the United States legally. The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not say why, but the name of a seventh suspect was redacted from the criminal complaint. The suspects are scheduled to be back in court September 6th.
A tip from a fisherman along the south branch of the Oconto River near Highway 64 in the Town of Doty, led them to the major growing operation. The plants were mature and some had already been harvested. The investigation began in June.