WASHBURN COUNTY -- An investigation into the theft of hemp plants from a farm on Metcalf Road in Washburn County, WI has resulted in felony charges for Logan Melton, of Stone Lake, WI.

Washburn County Dispatch received a theft complaint on September 7, 2021, stating that someone had entered the victim’s farm on Metcalf Road, damaged the crops, and stolen plants.

A Washburn County Deputy responded to the farm on Metcalf Road and spoke with the victims. The victims showed the Deputy a license from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection which confirmed that the victims were growing hemp plants as part of a State of Wisconsin pilot hemp program.

The victims stated that they had checked the field on September 5, 2021, and the hemp crop was undisturbed. On September 7, 2021, they returned to the field at around 9:30 in the morning and discovered that the gate to the field had been pulled off of its pins. The victims then observed that a number of the hemp plants had been pulled up and removed and others had been damaged by the stalks being twisted and torn off.

The Deputy observed footprints in the field, tire tracks, two size D batteries, and an empty plastic water bottle. The victims advised the Deputy that their estimated total loss was $15,000 due to the value of the plants that were removed and/or destroyed.

On September 10, 2021, a Sawyer County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a complaint at a property in the area of Stone Lake, WI. The Deputy was advised that Logan Melton was living in a trailer on the property and that Melton was growing marijuana plants. The property owner told Law Enforcement that they had allowed Melton to park a camper trailer on the property and live there. The property owner also made allegations that Melton had stolen vehicle parts from various vehicles parked on the property. Melton was located in the camper trailer and denied any allegations of theft. He was advised that he was no longer welcome on the property and the criminal complaint filed against him states that he left the property on foot.

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The property owner also advised the Deputy that Melton brought two vehicles and parked them in the vicinity of the trailer and that Melton had also assembled a shed on the property. Inside the shed that was allegedly being used by Melton, the Deputy located over a dozen plants that were discovered to be hemp plants. Two more hemp plants were located that had been re-planted in a field on the property. It was later determined that the plants were the same as those removed from the hemp farm.

After the Deputy took photos of the plants and samples from the plants, he left the plants at the location and set up a trail cam. The following day, the Deputy returned to the property and found that the plants had been removed from the shed, however, the two plants in the field were still there. The camera was still working and the memory card from the trail cam was reviewed, however, it held only images from when the camera was set and then images from when the Deputy returned. The criminal complaint filed against Melton states that Sawyer County IT is assisting the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office with attempting to retrieve any data that may have been deleted from the memory card. Law Enforcement seized the two remaining plants and any other evidence left at the scene.

The property owner advised Law Enforcement that Melton had been in contact with the owner requesting to return to the property and retrieve items. When Melton was advised that he could not return to the property unless law enforcement was present, then he no longer wished to come.

Melton is charged with Class G Felony Theft of Property, and two counts of Misdemeanor Bail Jumping. Online circuit court records show that in four additional criminal cases filed against Melton in Washburn County Circuit Court he is charged with three counts of Misdemeanor Operating Without a Valid Driver’s License, 2nd within 3 years; four counts of Misdemeanor Bail Jumping; and Class I Felony Possession of THC, 2nd + Offense. Details of those other court cases are not known to DrydenWire, however, Melton is scheduled to appear in Washburn County Circuit Court regarding all his criminal charges in November 2021.

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Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, 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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