National Forest Marijuana Growers Sentenced

A federal judge has sentenced the first of 12 defendants in a large marijuana-growing operation in a remote national forest in northeast Wisconsin.

Jorge Perez-Hipolito of Seymour was sentenced to just under six years behind bars. Prosecutors said he played a minor role in the pot-growing operation at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Officials said he delivered food-and-supplies to those who ran the camp. Assistant U-S Attorney Tammy Jo Hock said Perez-Hipolito was recruited from California to be a laborer in the operation – and defense attorney Steve Richards said his client never got a dime of the profits.

Judge William Griesbach said Perez-Hipolito must spend four years under supervision once he leaves prison. But officials say he’ll probably be deported to Mexico. Authorities broke up the pot-growing business last August.

All but one defendant has struck a plea deal. The alleged ring-leader, Bernabe Nunez-Guzman of Green Bay, is scheduled to go on trial November seventh. Five others will be sentenced this month, and the other five are expected to be sentenced in October and November.

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