Father-Son Pot Biz Spans Multiple States

Father, son had grow houses in Skokie and Chesterton, Indiana, police say

Monday, Aug 9, 2010  |  Updated 5:54 PM CDT
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Like father, like son.

Two Skokie men have been charged with running amulti-million dollar, multi-state pot growing operation, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced Monday.

Jay Zimmerman, 69, and his son Alan Zimmerman, 42, owned homes in the 6800 block of Latrobe Avenue, in Skokie, and in the 1700 block of Summerlin Court in Chesterton, police said.

The elder has been charged with manufacturing and delivery of cannabis, a Class X felony.  Indiana authorities have charged Alan Zimmerman with felony possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

More charges are expected against both men.

The investigation began when a Cook County sheriff's police narcotics officer developed a lead on a "suspected grow house operation" in Cook County, sheriff's police said. After an extended period of surveillance, the investigation led to the Zimmermans' Skokie house.

On July 28, sheriff’s police officers Porter County narcotics officers and officers with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency executed a search warrant at the Chesterton residence, where they found Jay Zimmerman.  Inside the home, police said they found an "extensive and sophisticated" grow operation.

Multiple rooms in the house were being used to "cultivate and process marijuana," police said.  Grow lamps, air purifiers and an elaborate watering and filtration system were set up in the basement.

Seized from the home were: 383 cannabis plants, approximately 22,700 grams of cannabis, three 12-gauge shotguns, four assault rifles, one Glock .45 caliber pistol, a 1999 Nissan Pathfinder a 2002 Nissan Pathfinder and a 2009 Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Another search warrant was executed on the Skokie home later that same evening.

A second, smaller grow operation was found in the home.  Police arrested Jay Zimmerman at the home and seized 17,252 grams of cannabis, two pistols and one assault rifle.

The total street value of the marijuana seized at the two houses was estimated to be between $3 to $5 million, according to the sheriff's office.

Alan Zimmerman’s next court date is set for October 5th in Porter County Court.  He’s being held without bond at the Porter County Jail.

Jay Zimmerman’s next scheduled court date is August 27th.  His bond was set at $10,000 on July 30 in a hearing at the Skokie courthouse.

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