A Tinley Park couple was out of jail and cleaning up their home Thursday evening after being arrested and charged with running a $1 million marijuana lab from their suburban home.
John Gecan, 52, and his wife Darlene, 52, didn't deny growing the plant, but said they weren't distributing and seemed most upset about the raid on their 7,000 square foot home, located in the 5300 block of West 175th Street.
"You can't come into somebody's home and do that," said John Gecan as he stood among the belongings strewn about the room. "It doesn't matter what they found."
But Kevin Ruel, deputy chief of special investigations for the Cook County Sheriff's Office, called the operation "one of the best" the department's seen and said it was anything but a grow site for recreational pot use.
"Based on a wholesale grow like this, it's more or less a higher level. This wasn't street-level dealing where they would sell it, you know, nickle [and] dime bag, that sort of thing," said Ruel. "Obviously these people knew what they were doing."
Police showed off the mechanics of the basement operation, illustrating how the family hid a ventilation system in the walls and up four floors into a vent through the attic to get rid of the smell. There was another intake vent to let fresh air in, they said.
Along with the pot plants, police said they found $7,000 in cash and computers and charts used to track the operation.
John Gecan refuted the officials' estimation as to the amount of pot they had.
"Are they retarded? There's not a million dollars worth of pot. I'd like to have that money. I'd be living in Mexico right now," he said.
Darlene Gecan said it was the faltering economy that drove her to the pot business.
"The real estate taxes went up four grand. My son's are unemployed, they can't find jobs," she explained.
John and Darlene Gecan, as well as their 27-year-old son, Christopher, and another relative, 22-year-old James Osmolski, were all arrested and charged with production, manufacturing and possession with intent to deliver.
The three men were ordered held on $50,000 and Darlene Gecan was ordered held on $25,000. They all posted the bails and were released.