Cops: Home Engineered Into Marijuana Growing Plant

UPDATED 06/28/11 11:04 p.m.

CICERO, Ill. (STMW/WBBM) – From the outside, the house on West 32nd Street looked like a regular home, but inside “it looked like something out of a bad B-movie,” according to a Cicero police official.

CBS 2’s Suzanne LeMignot explains, inside the structure in the 5000 block of West 32nd, police found nearly two dozen air conditioners running, sealed humidity and temperature controls, three-inch-thick foam padding covering walls, secret exit doors, special lighting and a maze of growing rooms.

They also found an estimated $4 million worth of marijuana, according to police. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding has more on the story.

Cicero Police Supt. Bernard Harrison said the home had been engineered specifically to create the right atmosphere to grow cannabis plants.

On Tuesday, police announced two men have been charged with growing nearly 1,000 marijuana plants inside the home, where about 40 pounds of high-grade cannabis, valued at more than $4 million, was found, according to a release from the town.

“They re-wired the home for electricity, putting in an additional four circuit boxes and they bypassed the electrical meter, getting power directly from the outside power lines,” Harrison said in the release.

“They had 21 air conditioners running, sealed humidity and temperature controls and special lighting with a nursery in one room and growing rooms filled with mature plants ready to be processed,” he said.

“The exterior walls had three-inch-thick foam padding reinforced with 1/4-inch aluminum insulation. The idea was to create the ideal environment to grow the high-grade marijuana but to also keep the smell of the plants inside. ”

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding Reports

Ryan A. Geru, 30 and Christopher G. Newman, 39, were each charged with a Class X felony for manufacturing cannabis, and two lesser felonies for possession and for criminal fortification of a residential home, according to the release.

Harrison said police chased the suspects, who ran from the home, which he described as “a maze on the inside of hallways and rooms used to grow and prepare the marijuana.”

Police said the discovery began as a routine traffic stop about 7 p.m. on June 21. Inside a 2002 red Cadillac, officers identified the scent of marijuana, which led them to the property of the owner.

The outside doors of the home were reinforced with heavy steel and the bolts were visible from the outside. Drug-sniffing dogs were brought in to check the property before entering, the release said. The suspects tried to escape through a special door but were apprehended.

Bond has been set at $200,000 for Geru and $250,000 for Newman, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office. Both are next scheduled to appear in court on July 19.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011 and WBBM contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

More from Lisa Fielding
  • tom Sharp

    For the benefit of the police and the judge, here’s the math: 2 guys with $4 million + in plants, facing a Class X felony conviction and $450,000 combined bond which requires $45 ,000 cash). My best guess is they are already gone!!!

  • V Fox

    Hope they tear the place down. After seeing the MASSIVE damage marijuana growing causes to a home’s structure, air quality and utilities, it’s ultimately cheaper to demolish it and start fresh–the mold is ridiculous in those places!

  • The Cryptojournalist

    Police claims of 40 lbs being $4 million worth of pot is ridiculous. That means a pound of pot in Chicago costs $100,000

    • Citizen for a Livable Chicago

      Set the pricing system now, so when the government legalizes it they can make as much money as possible.

  • Justice...

    The guys are just trying to survive in a bad economy……all is well as long as the gov gets their chop from taxes….

  • Jillian Galloway

    On June 17, 1971, President Nixon told Congress that “if we cannot destroy the drug menace in America, then it will surely destroy us.” After forty years of trying to destroy “the drug menace in America” we still *haven’t* been able to destroy it and it still *hasn’t* destroyed us. Four decades is long enough to realize that on this important issue President Nixon was wrong! All actions taken as a result of his invalid and paranoid assumptions (e.g. the federal marijuana prohibition) should be ended immediately!

    It makes no sense for taxpayers to fund the federal marijuana prohibition when it *doesn’t* prevent people from using marijuana and it *does* make criminals incredibly wealthy and incite the Mexican drug cartels to murder thousands of people every year.

    We need legal adult marijuana sales in supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies for exactly the same reason that we need legal alcohol and tobacco sales – to keep unscrupulous black-market criminals out of our neighborhoods and away from our children. Marijuana must be made legal to sell to adults everywhere that alcohol and tobacco are sold.

  • Joey Stano

    I guess Crypto cant read…approx. 1000 plants and approx. 40 lbs of loose cannabis….not $100k a pound…these cicero hillbillies really new how to make a buck….looks like a crazy operation that was probably funded by some of the other cicero wannabe gangstas…

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