MARQUETTE, MI – Spencer Troy Ward, 56-years-old, formerly of Bruce Crossing, Michigan, was sentenced to 151 months (12 years, 7 months) in prison for his involvement in a marijuana production and distribution conspiracy that Ward led in Ontonagon, Iron and Marquette Counties in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge.
U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney also ordered Ward to pay the government $475,254.30, which constituted the gross proceeds of his illegal sales of marijuana. In addition, the Judge ordered the forfeiture of Ward’s 80-acre farm, which Ward used to manufacture marijuana.
Ward came to the attention of a Special Agent from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and detectives from the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET) in 2014, after law enforcement officers from the Lac Vieux Desert (LVD) reservation near Watersmeet, MI reported that marijuana produced and sold by Ward was making its way onto the LVD reservation.
Investigators from BIA and UPSET discovered that Ward and his associates were growing marijuana at Ward’s farm and operating marijuana stores in Watersmeet, Iron River and Marquette. Ward also had plans to open another marijuana store in Houghton. BIA and UPSET executed search warrants at Ward’s farm and the stores in February 2016, and found a large-scale, sophisticated grow operation that contained 186 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, and more than 100 pounds of processed marijuana.