By LISA M. REED
GREEN BAY, Wis. - Five family members facing federal marijuana charges after more than 1,000 marijuana plants were found at two locations in Marinette County will be sentenced in April.
U.S. District Court officials said that the five individuals - 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 - pleaded guilty, so a jury trial was not held as originally scheduled for Jan. 22.
Four of the defendants will be sentenced on Tuesday, April 9. Brian at 9:30 a.m., Manuel at 10:30 a.m., Maria at 1:30 p.m., and Marco at 3 p.m.
Javier will be sentenced on Friday, April 12 at 1:30 p.m.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Lipscomb of Milwaukee is prosecuting the case.
The federal charges against the five defendants 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 traced vehicles coming and going from the grow areas to them.
Lisa M. Reed's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.