If you know the police are onto your indoor marijuana-growing operation, it's probably not a good idea to burn the evidence in the fireplace.
Yet the McHenry County sheriff's office says that's exactly what happened on Friday while officers were investigating a tip of a basement marijuana-growing network near Huntley.
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In the end, deputies seized 100 marijuana plants on the 12500 block of Hensel Road and arrested three people in connection with the case, officials said.
Danny W. Depew, 40, and his wife, Kristine, 32, both of the Hensel address, were each charged with the unlawful manufacture of marijuana, unlawful production of marijuana plants, unlawful possession of marijuana, obstruction of justice for destruction of evidence and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, and Kristine Depew faces an additional charge of resisting a police officer because she tried to block police from coming into the home, Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said.
Mike A. Mason, 39, of the 200 block of South Bartlett Road in Streamwood, was charged with obstruction of a police officer for providing false information to police, Zinke said, adding that he could not elaborate on the nature of that information.
Police said that on Friday, members of the McHenry County sheriff's office narcotics and K-9 units were investigating a tip they'd received about the indoor operation. During that investigation, police were in the middle of obtaining a search warrant when they smelled something strange coming from the house.
"So in their infinite wisdom, they took the plants, put them in the fireplace ... and the officers smelled marijuana," Zinke said. "They attempted to destroy the evidence." The odor, Zinke said, was what gave police a reason to arrest the trio.
In addition to the plants, police also seized tools they say were used to cultivate the crop. The group may face another charge that deals with stealing electricity from Com-Ed. Police say the marijuana seized had a street value of $100,000 and that the operation had been going on for a few months.
He added that the Depews were renters.
Bail was set at $40,000 for Danny Depew, $30,000 for Kristine Depew and $15,000 for Mason. All three were released after posting 10 percent of those amounts and are due in court May 23.