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Cops seize 1,000 marijuana plants

For the second time in two months, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department has busted a large marijuana growing operation.

Only this time there was an arrest.

Mario Cuevas-Alvarez, 31, address unknown, was apprehended Monday after a brief chase in a wooded area in the Town of Salem near Plum City, according to authorities He was taken to the Pierce County Jail on charges of manufacturing marijuana.

At the site, investigators seized more than 1,000 marijuana plants as well as some processed marijuana.

Investigator Mike Waltz said it's hard to estimate how much processed marijuana had already been removed. But he said the total street value could range from $200,000 to $500,000.

Waltz said a person scouting for hunting spots Saturday came upon the site and notified the Sheriff's Department. Investigators responded and found the marijuana-growing operation.

Police also found tarps, sleeping bags, cooking and food supplies that had all been placed on the land without the landowner's knowledge or consent.

They returned two days later and found Alvarez.

In September, investigators located a similar marijuana operation in a wooded area less than a half-mile away. More than 180 pounds of marijuana were seized.

Waltz said that investigators believe these operations are related and are continuing to investigate the matter.