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Authorities express concerns about remote pot-growing farms

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New Richmond, 54017

New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

Wisconsin has turned up some rather large marijuana-growing operations the past couple years.

And authorities believe they're the products of sophisticated growers who've moved to the Badger State from out West, where similar operations have cropped up for decades.

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In Shawano County, authorities are still trying to find the people who harvested thousands of marijuana plants in the Navarino Wildlife Area.

By the time a hunter found the site this summer, some plants had gotten up to six-feet tall.

Sheriff's captain Tom Tuma says his officers caution people against investigating these large outfits on their own.

He and other drug officers say there's a strong potential for violence.

Authorities removed 8,000 pot plants from the Navarino.

A year ago, 9,000 plants were hauled away from a remote site at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

And last month, officials said $2 million worth of marijuana was apparently harvested at a remote site in Buffalo County in western Wisconsin.

At the Navarino Wildlife Area, the DNR's Kay Brockman-Mederas says employees were doing maintenance work near the site all summer.

She said it was amazing it was happening under their noses and she's relieved that none of her employees ran into the growers.

Tuma says the problem appears to be nipped in the bud for now, especially in his area, but he still says it's a growing problem in general.

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