News and Press Releases

Six Charged with Marijuana Grow Operation on US Forest Land

August 12, 2011

Madison, Wis. - John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that six men have been charged today in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court with manufacturing marijuana. The defendants allegedly cultivated a large marijuana grow operation in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, over a several-acre area approximately 25 miles northwest of Park Falls, Wis.

The individuals charged are:

1. Jose Esqueda-Garcia, 19, a citizen of Mexico;
2. Norberto Burciago, 40, St. Paul, Minn.;
3. Cesar Omar Tinoco, 21, a citizen of Mexico;
4. Moises Lopez-Ontiveros, 21, a citizen of Mexico;
5. Jorge Lopez-Ontiveros, 24, a citizen of Mexico; and
6. Abraham Ramirez, 29, a citizen of Mexico.

Moises Lopez-Ontiveros and Jorge Lopez-Ontiveros are brothers. The complaint and affidavit are attached.

The defendants made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Madison today, and were ordered detained pending an arraignment hearing scheduled for Friday, August 19, at 9:00 a.m.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

The charges against the defendants are the result of an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation; Ashland County Sheriff’s Department; Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Forest Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Northwest Area Crime Unit (comprised of Sawyer, Douglas and Washburn County Sheriffs’ Departments and Superior Police Department); U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. The prosecution of the case will be handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.

You are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.



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