TOWN OF MISHICOT - Authorities in Manitowoc County say they took down a nearly half-million dollar marijuana growing operation the sheriff says has been going on for quite some time.
On a rural property in the Town of Mishicot, investigators say they found 285 marijuana plants growing outside.
"Since I've been here for over 30 years, this is the largest outdoor grow we've encountered," remarked Manitowoc County Sheriff Robert Hermann.
Hermann told FOX 11 the plants themselves were large and would have yielded about 200 pounds of pot.
"Anywhere from the height of four foot to seven foot, which is quite a large number of plants," Hermann explained.
Hermann told us the 49-year-old property owner grew the plants on 8 separate plots. The sheriff said the suspect was keeping them watered, fertilized and semi-hidden.
"Lot of the crop was amongst the trees on the property," said Hermann.
The sheriff said the county's Metro Drug Unit found the grow last Friday. Since then investigators have taken a lot of evidence from the property.
"We take the plants, any of the grow operation, any of the lights, any of the fixtures," Hermann explained.
According to Hermann, the suspect has been cooperating with the investigation. He said this is not the man's first grow. Officers found a set up for several stages of marijuana processing in out buildings on the property.
"It's our belief it's been going on more than one or two years," Hermann explained.
Hermann said the suspect is unemployed and could have made $300,000 to $500,000 from the marijuana.
"It comes down to, obviously, money. It's a very lucrative business," explained Hermann.
Hermann told us they found the grow thanks to a tip from the DNR and it wasn't a moment too soon. He said the marijuana was weeks away from harvest.
"I'm very happy we got the information and were able to take this down, obviously we don't want drugs in our community," said Hermann.
The property owner, who is not in custody, is the sole suspect at this point. The sheriff says it could be a month before charges are filed.
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