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updated: 8/4/2012 8:17 PM

Naperville man pleads guilty to federal drug, gun charges

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A Naperville man pleaded guilty Friday to a federal charges that he provided armed security for a pot-growing operation in Paw Paw, which is roughly 40 miles west of Aurora.

Eric M. Konrady, who was arrested March 23, 2011, pleaded guilty at the U.S. District Court in Rockford to one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

According to court documents, he and three co-defendants were growing 458 marijuana plants at two residences in Paw Paw. Konrady lived in one of the residences with his employer; he was to protect the growing operation and the money earned. Konrady was paid several times each week "with small amounts" of marijuana, according to court documents.

The operation sold 109 pounds of marijuana to people in Lee and Ogle counties. In addition to the plants, investigators found cultivation equipment, a drug ledger, $1,100, three handguns, six rifles and two shotguns. Konrady had a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun.

Konrady faces 5 to 40 years on the marijuana manufacturing charge and five years to life on the gun charge. The sentences cannot be served concurrently; prosecutors are recommending the minimum on both counts. He is due to be sentenced Nov. 19.