By LISA M. HOFFMANN
GREEN BAY, Wis. - The five family members facing marijuana charges after more than 1,000 marijuana plants were found at two separate locations in Marinette County have until Jan. 9 to enter pleas.
If husband and wife Javier, 51, and Mara Hilda Magana-Mendoza, their son, Brian, 19; Javier's brother, Marco Magana, 38, and Manuel Mendoza, 45, all of Green Bay, do not enter pleas, a final pre-trial will be held on that date.
A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 22 at 8:30 a.m. in U.S. District Court in Green Bay.
Federal charges against the five individuals are the result of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, Marinette County Sheriff's Office, Brown County Sheriff's Office, Marinette Police Department, Green Bay Police Department, Brown County Drug Task Force, U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Marshals Service.
According to the affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Green Bay, the suspects purchased three properties on Marinette County X in Middle Inlet and South Hill Road in Athelstane where they grew large fields of marijuana. The affidavit states law enforcement was notified of the grow operations in May when a fisherman reported being kicked off Middle Inlet by two Hispanic males who told him "fishing was closed."
The fisherman saw several trees had been cut down and that a power cord was stretched over the water, according to the court document.
In early June, a logger contacted authorities to report coming across a pot field, and another fisherman discovered a power cord, pump and makeshift bridge near an area where one to two acres of land had been cleared for marijuana plants.
Authorities tracked ownership of the land to the suspects, and also traced vehicles coming and going from the grow areas to them.
Following the execution of federal warrants served on two locations in Middle Inlet and one in the town of Athelstane earlier this summer, two Hispanic males fled on foot from the Middle Inlet area.
Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve said those two other individuals are still being sought.
He said officials may have one of their vehicles subject to seizure.
Prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Lipscomb.
Lisa M. Hoffmann's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.