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Marijuana operation found in preserves

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Chicago Tribune
by Mary Owen

An elaborate marijuana-growing operation, which used massive fields in 11 locations throughout northwest Cook County forest preserves, has been uncovered, county officials announced Monday.

Two men were arrested in connection with the bust, which yielded about 15,000 to 20,000 cannabis plants, officials said. Some of the plants were 8 feet high.

Officials said the operation was one of the largest and most sophisticated illegal cannabis cultivation schemes in the nation.
The largest field is three football fields long and 1 1/2 football fields wide.

Officials found the growers' living quarters, including tents, bunkers, food, showers and a garbage pit.

Law enforcement officials said they plan to reveal more details Tuesday about the operation.

Law enforcement officers from more than 50 agencies assisted with uncovering the operation, including the Cook County Forest Preserve Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Illinois State Police, Cook County sheriff's police, Army and Air National Guard, the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group and officials from Naperville, Elgin, Batavia, Elk Grove and Barrington.



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