Island Lake man accused of running marijuana operation

  • Jeffrey C. Churillo

    Jeffrey C. Churillo

Updated 2/18/2011 3:25 PM

An Island Lake man remains in the McHenry County jail as a result of charges stemming from a marijuana-growing operation that included 167 plants inside his home, authorities said Friday.

Jeffrey C. Churillo, 49, of the 4500 block of Vista Drive, is charged with unlawful manufacturing of cannabis, unlawful possession of cannabis, unlawful production of cannabis plants, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of ammunition without a firearm owner's identification card.


McHenry County sheriff's Sgt. Michael Cisner said officers went to Churillo's house to serve an arrest warrant on him Wednesday. Cisner said police noticed the pot operation, secured the home and alerted the narcotics unit to obtain a search warrant.

Police said they recovered the 167 growing cannabis sativa plants and more than 5,000 grams of processed pot in packages. Authorities estimated the street value of the plants and processed marijuana at more than $175,000.

Cisner said Churillo's illegal horticulture effort was in the basement and an upstairs room. Authorities said the suspect had nutrients, lights, ballasts and exhaust tubing to cultivate the pot plants.

"There was mold located in the house and it was very humid," Cisner said.

Police said Churillo, who's in the jail in lieu of 10 percent of a $75,000 bond, lived alone in the home. Cisner said it appeared Churillo's operation had been going on "for a while."

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Meanwhile, Island Lake building inspector Frank DeSort said Friday the village has red-tagged Churillo's' home because it's considered unfit to live in primarily because of the mold.

DeSort said the village's decision came in part from McHenry sheriff's investigators' statements and photographs taken by authorities. He said there may be problems with electrical hookups and illegal waterline tapping.

Another concern is the possibility of water backflow from Churillo's home into the village's supply, DeSort said.

"We want to make sure there is nothing hazardous to the people in the neighborhood, either," he said.