WAUSAU, Wis. -Police in north central Wisconsin say they seized thousands of dollars in cash and more than $2 million in marijuana plants after searching several local homes in what investigators say is the largest drug arrest in Marathon County history.
Members of the Marathon County Special Investigations Unit searched a Wausau home Thursday after receiving a call from a local delivery company about a suspicious package according to a Sheriff's Department news release. The Special Investigations Unit spearheads drug investigations for the county and includes officers from several area jurisdictions.
Marathon County Deputy Sheriff Brandon Stroik and his K-9 partner Csibi were called to assist investigators, who seized 2,159 grams of processed marijuana and several thousand dollars in cash at a home in the 800 block of Steuben Street, police said. Bryan Arnold, who lived at the home, was arrested on drug-related charges.
The investigation led police to a second home in rural Athens, where they discovered a major marijuana-growing operation, according to the news release. At the Athens home, police found 727 marijuana plants, several thousand dollars in cash, 1,466 grams of processed marijuana and marijuana-growing and -processing equipment. Plants with a street value of $2 million were taken from the home, according to the news release.
Arnold appeared Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court, where he faces charges of manufacturing or delivering marijuana, maintaining a drug trafficking place, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Arnold was ordered held on a $25,000 cash bond; he will appear in court Feb. 19 for a preliminary hearing. No other suspects' names were released in what investigators call an "ongoing investigation."
Marathon County Sheriff Scott Parks said the amount of drugs recovered is the largest ever in the county.
"I cannot recall anything larger pertaining to manufacturing and harvesting marijuana cases from the past," Parks said.
The investigation marked the first major arrest involving a K-9 officer since the department introduced three new dogs to the department last month.
"This joint investigation is a good example of the success of local law enforcement working together to take illegal substances off the street, with the assistance of the K-9s and their handlers," Parks said.