MARINETTE COUNTY - Officials say last week's drug bust in Marinette County is one of the largest marijuana busts in state history.
Authorities say they confiscated 13,222 plants from a family operation taking place in two private areas.
On Monday, state law enforcement officials showed off pictures taken at the grow sites in the towns of Middle Inlet and Athelstane.
"You can see that it was being very well cultivated," said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "It was a professional job. These plants were healthy, these plants were close to harvest."
The bust was made after a tip from a fisherman and nearly two months of surveillance. Officials say the street value of the confiscated plants is likely more than $13 million.
"As a rule of thumb, we tend to underestimate and we go $1,000 a pound for this type of marijuana that is produced in Wisconsin," said David Spakowicz with the Department of Justice.
Authorities say they are still looking for two people involved with the grow. However, five family members have already been charged. While they await their fate in jail, more than 2,400 pot plants sit in the Marinette County Sheriff's Department's evidence storage area.
"In the drying process, it smelled like raw silage," said Sheriff Jerry Sauve with the Marinette County Sheriff's Department. "The fumes in here were just incredible, to the point I was becoming concerned."
Officials say the more than 10,000 plants not being used as evidence were eradicated and buried at a landfill.
"That's a huge number of plants, higher than we would take off under most circumstances when we are taking off a grow operation," said Van Hollen.
Officials say they are still investigating where the drugs were to be sold or if this operation is linked to any others.
The five people in custody each face a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison. They are due back in court at the end of the month.
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