Monday, February 27, 2006

Marajuana Bust!

An elaborate marijuana-grow operation was uncovered early Saturday when 409 plants were confiscated with a street value of more than $250,000, according to Hurley Chief of Police Dan Erspamer.

A bond hearing for two Illinois men, Dale Maki, 41, and Robert Vedernack, 56, each charged with two Class I felonies of manufacturing marijuana and possession with intent to manufacture-deliver marijuana, was scheduled for later today.

Additional charges are pending, Erspamer said.

When officers from the HPD, Iron County Sheriff's Department and Ironwood Public Safety Department executed a search warrant at 1:43 a.m. at 209 Cary Road, scales, lamps and other paraphernalia used in a hydroponics growing operation were also confiscated, he said.

Additional search warrants relating to the case were executed in Ironwood and Ironwood Township, with negative results, Erspamer said.

The search warrants were executed by officers from the IPSD and Gogebic County Sheriff's Department, he added.

Saturday's arrests and seizure followed a month-long investigation by HPD Sgt. Chris Colassaco, patrolman Don Packmayer and ICSD Lt. Tony Furyk.

The investigation was funded through a Cannabis Enforcement and Suppression Effort annual grant which the ICSD has been receiving since about 1996, sheriff Bob Bruneau said.

"This is the largest and most elaborate growing operation I have seen in Iron County," Bruneau said. "Lt. Furyk, Sgt. Colassaco and Packmayer did an excellent job."

Erspamer said he would like to "thank all of the law enforcement agencies for their cooperation. This is a good example of our entire area working together."