Authorities: $2 million pot bust is a family affair - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Authorities: $2 million pot bust is a family affair


Marathon County authorities say a major drug operation was a family affair. Last week, investigators say they uncovered marijuana worth more than $2 million. Now, Bryan Arnold, 33, has been charged and authorities say his parents are connected.

It's the largest drug arrest ever in marathon county history.

"They would harvest and then they could keep bringing in new crop through so that there was really no point in time where they were down," said Chief Deputy Chad Billeb of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities say it all started when Arnold tried to ship four ounces of marijuana to a home in Kansas.

"A local delivery company came to us and said they had a suspicious package," explained Billeb.

Sheriff's investigators say after a search of Arnold's home in Wausau they found more than 2, 500 grams of processed marijuana and thousands of dollars.

"We did not have these individuals on our radar. We did not know they were operating this large of a drug program in our county," said Billeb.

Investigators say they were then led to a home in Athens where Arnold's parents live. Pictures from the Marathon County Sheriff's Department show the drug operation with more than 700 plants.

"This was a major supplier. They obviously had a lot of clientele or a base for pushing their product around," said Billeb.

According to the criminal complaint, Arnold's parents admitted they knew their son was growing marijuana in their home. They told police, Arnold paid them about $400 a month for electricity expenses.

"One would be led to believe that if you had 750 plants growing in your basement, you know about it," said Billeb.

Marathon County sheriff's officials have recommended the parents be charged. The district attorney is reviewing the case. Arnold is free on a $25,000 cash bond. He's expected to be back in court later this month. Our phone messages asking for comment were not returned.

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