News release on Monroe County drug busts - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

News release on Monroe County drug busts

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SPARTA, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Monroe County Sheriff Dennis Pedersen released the following statement regarding the two drug busts that took place in the county.  Here it is in it entirety:

 

PRESS RELEASE

October 13, 2009

A few weeks ago, Monroe County Sheriff's Department Investigators received information suggesting the existence of two, large marijuana-grow operations.  One of the reported grows was in southeastern Monroe County and the other in northeastern Monroe County.  Anticipating a large scale, resource intensive, law enforcement investigation, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) was asked to join the investigation in concert with the Sheriff's Department.  DCI agreed and these two agencies then led investigations into both reported grow operations.

Based on tip information and law enforcement investigative efforts, large marijuana grows were confirmed at both reported locations.  Search warrants were obtained for each location and executed as follows.

Case #1 - Southeast Monroe County

On September 22, 2009, a search warrant was executed on properties owned by Charles W. Vlasak, located at 33320 Owl Avenue, Elroy, WI and 30603 County Highway WW, Elroy, WI.  Both properties are located in the Township of Glendale.  During the search of these properties, 401 cultivated marijuana plants were located.  The value of the 401 plants is estimated at $802,000.

During this investigation it was revealed that, sometime shortly before execution of the search warrant, Charles W. Vlasak had destroyed approximately 1,270 marijuana plants that had been planted on property located at 32972 Owl Avenue, Elroy, WI, located in the Township of Glendale, Monroe County.  The value of the destroyed plants is estimated at $2.5 Million.

Charles W. Vlasak, age 54, of 33320 Owl Avenue, Elroy, WI is scheduled to appear in Monroe County Circuit Court on October 19th at 9:00 a.m. for an initial appearance and will be charged with one count of Felony Manufacture of THC in an amount greater than 10,000 grams or more than 200 plants, punishable by a fine not to exceed $50,000 and imprisonment up to 15 years.

In addition to DCI and the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, other law enforcement agencies/entities assisting during the investigation of this case and execution of the search warrant include the Monroe County Combined Tactical Unit, Wisconsin State Patrol and member agencies of the West-Central Metropolitan Enforcement Group, including the Tomah Police Department, Sparta Police Department, Warrens Police Department, La Crosse County Sheriff's Department, Vernon County Sheriff's Department and Jackson County Sheriff's Department.  Additionally, on the day of execution of the search warrant, medical contingency services, which were not needed, were provided by the Sparta Area Ambulance Service.

Case #2 - Northeast Monroe County

On September 29, 2009, a search warrant was executed on the property of Robert J. Mathison, Jr., located at 6475 US Highway 12, Tomah, WI.  This property is located in the Township of Lincoln.  During the search of this property, 1,297 cultivated marijuana plants were located.  The value of the plants is estimated at $2.6 Million.  Also located were two drying rooms hidden in the ceiling of a shed and the milk house.  On a table in one of the drying rooms, investigators found 27 pounds of drying, processed marijuana buds.

Robert J. Mathison, Jr., age 47, of 6475 US Highway 12, Tomah, WI has been charged with one count of Felony Manufacture of THC in an amount greater that 10,000 grams or more than 200 plants as a second or subsequent drug offender, punishable by a fine not to exceed $50,000 and imprisonment up to 19 years (15 years for the offense and 4 for the second or subsequent enhancer).  Mathison appeared in Monroe County Circuit Court on October 9th where the Court set a $5,000 cash bond and scheduled a pre-trial conference.  Mathison was released from the Monroe County Jail the same day following payment of the cash bond.

In addition to DCI and the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, other law enforcement agencies/entities assisting during the investigation of this case and execution of the search warrant include the Iowa National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, the Monroe County Combined Tactical Unit, and member agencies of the West-Central Metropolitan Enforcement Group, including the Tomah Police Department, Sparta Police Department, Warrens Police Department, La Crosse County Sheriff's Department, Vernon County Sheriff's Department and Jackson County Sheriff's Department.  On the day of execution of the search warrant, medical contingency services, which were not needed, were provided by the Sparta Area Ambulance Service.  Additionally, the Monroe County Highway Department assisted law enforcement with the removal and destruction of some marijuana.

Conclusion

Both of the cases addressed above remain under investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff's Department and DCI.

Prepared by:  Sheriff Dennis A. Pedersen

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