WHEATON, Ill. (STMW) – A Naperville man who had a similar run-in with authorities 11 years ago has been charged with growing nine marijuana plants in a secluded section of the Greene Valley Forest Preserve near west suburban Woodridge.

Randy W. Mitchell is free on bond and awaiting his Oct. 24 arraignment in DuPage County Circuit Court in Wheaton. He faces trial there on a felony charge of producing or possessing more than five, but not more than 20 cannabis plants, along with resisting or obstructing a police officer and littering, according to court records.

Mitchell, 52, of the 100 block of East Bailey Road in Naperville, lives about three miles west of the alleged growing operation, discovered just south of 75th Street in the Greene Valley woods.

Lt. Howard B. Oller, of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County police, said Mitchell was arrested Sept. 13 or 14, about a month after police officers happened upon “a marijuana-cultivation site of about nine plants.” Police immediately put the area under surveillance, he said.

Mitchell and another man allegedly went to the site with two canisters designed to carry water or other liquids, Oller said.

Both men threw down the cans — which is how Mitchell came to be charged with littering — and took off running, Oller said. The other man escaped, but Mitchell was taken into custody after scuffling with an officer, who had chased and grabbed him.

Mitchell was arrested in October 2000 in the same general area of the preserve. Oller said officer Brian Philips was sent there following a report of a motorist traveling on a wooded, off-road trail.

A man later identified as Mitchell was found “driving a pickup truck on a trail,” Oller said.

“He had a bunch of garden tools with him, and he was muddy,” Oller said. Mitchell “claimed he was doing water-quality testing” after being stopped by Philips.

Philips did not find any marijuana or other contraband that day. Court records indicated he cited Mitchell for parking or operating a motorized vehicle in an unauthorized area.

Oller added several other marijuana-cultivation operations have been discovered in Greene Valley over the past five years.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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