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Wisconsin police bust alleged drug and gambling ring: Part I

Late last month, Wisconsin authorities arrested 24 people during one of the state's largest drug busts in recent history. In addition to selling marijuana, police say the defendants were also operating an illegal gambling scheme using cell phones.

Wisconsin authorities say that they began the investigation more than a year ago in response to tips they received from law enforcement in other states. After a year of detailed work, authorities executed 18 search warrants and seized cash, drugs and weapons.

According to Wisconsin investigators, the defendants were conspiring to sell more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana brought in from British Columbia, Canada. Because it was imported, police say the marijuana was very potent.

A special agent for the DEA said: "Clearly marijuana harvested in Canada many times is much more potent and therefore is worth more money here in the states." Of the 24 defendants, 17 were charged with drug crimes. These charges carry a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.

The DEA agent also praised law enforcement officials for their exhaustive efforts and long-term approach. He said: "Many times we are forced to make a quick move on the street. In this case, we took our time, utilized every law available, agents all over the country and in one swoop that organization no longer exists."

According to police, the "swoop" was performed by over 150 officers and agents. During the execution of 18 search warrants, agents seized 25 pounds of marijuana and about $1.3 million in cash. Other seizures included drug paraphernalia and packaging materials, guns, jewelry and several cars.

While performing the investigation, police also discovered an alleged gambling scheme. Check back later this week as continue our discussion about this major event.

Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel online, "24 face drug, gambling charges," John Diedrich, 02 June 2011

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