Wisconsin officials have asked area hunters and fishermen to keep their eyes peeled for illegal marijuana crops, according to CNN.
A number of marijuana growing operations have been discovered in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest over the past few years. In order to get a handle on the situation, the US Forest Service has asked hunters and fishermen to report any crops they see during their outdoor adventures.
Jane Cliff, spokesperson for the US Forest Service, explained that a fishermen stumbled across an $8 million marijuana operation back in August. Officials confiscated over 8,000 plants during the bust.
“The fisherman was walking along the banks of the Oconto River and noticed these patches that had been cleared and disturbed. Trees were down, things didn’t look right, and he reported that to authorities, and a surveillance operation was established,” Cliff explained.
According to Officer.com, 11 illegal operations have been uncovered in the area since 2011. Authorities believe the national park is being used by Mexican drug cartels to produce large crops of marijuana.
Since the US Forest Service doesn’t have the manpower to comb every last inch of the park for crops, authorities have turned to local hunters and fishermen to lend a helping hand.
“Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is large, secluded and heavily roaded, so our personnel cannot by themselves keep an eye on every acre,” Cliff said. “That’s why we are relying on forest users to share information with us.”
If you should stumble across and illegal marijuana growing operation, authorities are hoping you’ll make note of the location on a GPS device to help them locate the crop in the future. Getting out of the area as soon as possible is also strongly advised.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen explained that these problems are currently being addressed in order to keep park users safe and sound during their stay.
“We have people who want to use our lands for public recreation, and they’re at risk from people who have a big cash crop to protect. When we encounter ammunition and people armed in the woods with that incentive, it’s a great danger to the public,” Hollen explained.
Wisconsin hunters who happen upon any illegal marijuana crops should contact local police or the US Forest Service as soon as possible.