Resident ‘stumbles upon’ outdoor pot-growing operation - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Resident ‘stumbles upon’ outdoor pot-growing operation

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HEBRON, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The discovery of a campsite in a wooded area of McHenry County over the weekend led police to an outdoor cannabis-growing operation that contained about 2,000 plants with an estimated street value of $1 million.

McHenry County Sheriff's deputies were called to the area of Nichols Road and Hillside Road near Hebron on Saturday for a trespassing complaint, a statement from the sheriff's office said.

A resident had stumbled upon a campsite in the middle of the woods and startled two men who then ran away. Deputies were unable to locate the men, but did find two cleared areas in the dense woods that were being prepared for planting.

The sheriff's Narcotics Unit was called in and recovered about 2,000 cannabis sativa seedlings, fertilizer, soil, hoses, plant food, water and camping equipment. Under sheriff Andrew Zinke estimated the street value of the plants, had they been harvested, at $1 million.

Zinke warned residents that as summer approaches, people involved in growing marijuana head to rural areas to tend to crops. In recent years the sheriff's Narcotics Unit has recovered more than 20,000 cannabis plants from outdoor grow operations. Typically these crops are located in swamps, corn fields, wooded areas, along rivers and on rural rental properties with large acreages. Cannabis can be harvested as early as August and as late as early October.

Common indicators of outdoor grow operations include abandoned vehicles parked along roads or trails, people walking in remote areas for no apparent reason; bags of fertilizer, planting trays or chemicals found in remote areas; well-trampled trails in wooded or swamp areas; cleared-out areas in swamps, wooded areas or corn fields; and "No Trespassing" signs suddenly appearing.

The sheriff's office warns people that some outdoor growing are guarded by "booby" traps. If discovered, contact law enforcement and do not enter the area.

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