Watch CBS News

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.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.