- Law enforcement agents in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest now spend much of their time busting marijuana grows.
That was evident at Wednesday's massive operation in Oconto County.
But it wasn't always that way.
Until a few years ago, these agents were something like campground and safety monitors.
But more pot grows in the National Forest means their duties are changing.
"We in the Midwest have been fortunate that this hasn't been a problem in the past. Now, we're recognizing this is going to be a problem. It's probably something we're going to be facing into the future," says Suzanne Flory, Forest Service Public Affairs Officer.
Yesterday, the Forest Service and assisting agencies took down a marijuana grow near Mountain on the Langlade-Oconto County line.
It's the third big bust in the National Forest in three years.
"It was a substantial amount of marijuana - thousands and thousands of plants. The last two years we've seen grow sites of about 10,000 plants," says Flory.
This grow was just short of that number.
Wednesday's bust destroyed its more than eight million dollars in estimated value.
It was first noticed by a man fishing in part of the one-and-a-half-million-acre National Forest.
"If you see anything unusual at all, we just ask that you report it. All these sites that we found have been reported by people that were either hunting or fishing, so we need those extra eyes and ears out there to help out," Flory says.
Six suspects are in jail on federal charges.
Five of them are in the U.S. illegally.
A Justice Department special agent says the the sixth lives in Brandon in Fond du Lac County.
She is called a "lunchero" - that is, in charge of bringing food and pot growing supplies to the sites.
Prosecutors will ask for prison time of ten years to life.
The six will again be in federal court in Green Bay next Thursday.